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Removing Stamps from Envelopes

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How can I remove postage stamps from return envelopes from charities I'm not going to donate to? I read about using a hairdryer, but I can't get that to work. It seems a shame to throw out the stamp when I am not using it to send a donation. I'm talking about the stamped envelopes that come as enclosures from a charity requesting a donation. Is it ethical?

By HJ from DE

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By susan [5]01/19/2012

If you take the entire envelope to the post office, they will replace the stamp. But you must take the entire envelope and not cut the stamp off.

By Anonymous [848]01/14/2012

cailifouhnofthemist, pretty funny about saying the USPS rules/laws about this particular stamp issue is an urban legend, LOL! How can it be untrue when it's a real regulation? You did notice I said 'US'PS didn't you? Perhaps Canada simply has postal rules that are more slack. ;-)

By leanne chaisson [44]01/13/2012

Cut out the stamp and soak it in a bowl of warm water, after a while the stamp separates from the paper. then glue it to another letter. I have never had a letter returned because I reused the stamp, to me this sounds like an "urban legend". Unless you are living somewhere very small that hand stamps their envelopes I would just reuse the stamps.

By Judy = Oklahoma [57]01/11/2012

You can cut an unused stamp off the envelope & turn it in to the post office for a refund. I've done this before & they give you the money back on them - or you can trade them for stamps that are useable.

Or:

The freezer never worked for me. What I do is boil waater in my tea kett.e, then hold the envelope over the steam & start pulling the stamp off. Be careful you don't tear the stamp or burn yourself on the steam. Let the stamp completely dry before using it. Put a thin dab of glue on the back(bottled glue or glue stick both work), being careful not to get near the edges of the stamp. Put it on your envelope & smooth it out. If you put too much glue on or put it on the edge, the glue will squeeze out on the envelope, make a mess & void the stamp if it gets caught.

By Anonymous [848]01/10/2012

I just spoke with a cousin of mine who recently stopped working for USPS after fifteen years as a mail sorter. Wanted to double check mine and others answers here. Poor But Prouds suggestion about covering the addresses is the only one legally acceptable. If the stamp is "glued" or "taped" to another envelope and the sorting machine or a human sorter catches it, it will be returned to you as 'postage due'. Even my cousin thinks it's a ridiculous rule when it's an unused stamp but she said you would be surprised how many letters are returned and letter delivery delayed because of it.

By Sharon [20]01/09/2012

In the freezer overnight does it.

By Sandi [390]01/09/2012

Cut and glue, but if you tape, make sure it's not covered completly. That means the postal service can't stamp it. It's yours, you can use it as you please. Or, if you feel bad, donate it to an elderly person who still gets and sends mail. You can always put another address over the ones printed. Then, you don't have to worry about the stamp issue. It's on the envelope to stay, you simply alter the address. Easy Peasy.

By Anonymous [848]01/09/2012

If you're talking about a regular (pre-paid) stamp and not the metered kind that guarantees delivery back to the charity then just cut it off and tape or glue on another envelope. If it's not a regular (pre-paid) stamp then please don't use it because the charity will be charged when used because of the coding on the metered type.

The way I look at it, if it's already paid for, is that it would be downright wasteful and a shame not to use it by just throwing it away. I hope I made sense.

I am with Lilac that I also don't understand why charities put pre-paid stamps on a return envelope :-(

By Betty [104]01/09/2012

Someone said she didn't think it right to use a stamp from a charity. So she'd just trash it? If that stamp is mailed to me then it's mine to use as I choose. Sometimes there is so much waste in those charities. I don't believe in waste even if it is a 40 something stamp. In addition, they probably aren't paying for those stamps so why would they be mailing them out knowing a great percentage won't be used.

As to your question: Bring a pan of water to boil on the stove and lay the envelope above the pan but not touching the water. The stem will release the stamp; I've done it when I've put a stamp on an envelope and decided not to use that envelope. And call me dishonest if you wish, but I'd have no problem if that stamp was mailed to me from a charity because I don't like unsolicited mail or phone calls. My 2 cents worth.

By Lilac [18]01/09/2012

Occasionally I stamp an envelope and realize I have made a mistake on the envelope, I simply remove the stamp by cutting it off the envelope and gluing it on a new envelope. I Have often wondered why charities waste money by placing stamps on envelopes when they are unsure if they are going to get a donation.

By Jonnie Shambarger [2]01/09/2012

I have never gotten the freezer suggestion to work. Maybe I just didn't leave it long enough. When I have placed a stamp on an envelope and then decide to remove it, for whatever reason I use my hairdryer and get the stamp hot and lift it off while the glue on the back is still warm. Sometimes it requires a bit of extra glue on the stamp to restick. Without a hair dryer I would try a warm iron with a piece of waxed paper over the stamp to warm it up.

By Frugal Sunnie [11]01/09/2012

I don't think it's right to use a charity paid for stamp if you don't donate to that charity in other ways, frankly. I do understand though-postage is going up and a lot of us are on strictly restricted budgets, the temptation is incredible.

But wrong to succumb to. Just my opinion, but if my adult son did that I would speak to him about what he is teaching my grandson.

By SANDY01/09/2012

Place in freezer for 30 minutes or so and should come right off once frozen.

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