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Reusing Envelopes

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We often have a stack of envelopes from bills and advertising; reuse them rather than discarding. This is a page about reusing envelopes.


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By 19 found this helpful
September 17, 2010

To save money on buying envelopes, take any pre-addressed envelopes that come in the mail that aren't going to be used and put white labels over the address. Make sure not to use envelopes that are obviously not suited to your purpose. Even the envelopes with the see through windows can be used. Just put the white label over the window part. We haven't purchased envelopes in ages!

By Ron from Cortez, CO

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November 18, 200915 found this helpful

I don't get junk postal mail anymore but I do receive bills that always have return payment envelopes. I pay my bills by phone or online now and just hate the idea of throwing those envelopes away. I have started using them as shopping lists and place the appropriate coupons inside. Not only is the envelope being used for something but I also don't forget to hand over the coupons at the point of sale anymore.

In case you're wondering why I don't just get my statements online, well, I believe in having a paper trail to be on the safe side. Being on a fixed disability income, I have to be careful about using up printing paper and ink. Oh, and there's always the possibility of losing saved data on computers and backup disks too ;-)


By Deeli from Richland, WA

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October 15, 2010

While I know that a lot of us use those return envelopes we get in our junk mail and simply place a white label over the printed address, I have been advised by my friend at the post office here to ALSO make sure that any and all barcodes be completely covered by a white label, as computers that sort the mail will read those over anything hand-written. Just a tip and a bit of a warning, if you want your mail to end up going where it is supposed to go! :)

By Brianna Southworth from Dutch Harbor, AK

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By 5 found this helpful
January 16, 2013

I am a mother and a full time student working towards my college degree. I have financial limitations and constraints and I was always looking for practical ways to save money and recycle at the same time.


One day, it occurred to me that I was wasting tons of paper over the years writing notes to myself a "To Do" list or to write down ideas, thoughts etc. on discussions we had in school that would later translate into a research paper.

It hit me that while I was opening a "large white envelope" that was delivered to me, it had two small labels (recipient and sender). I was looking for a notepad and couldn't find one handy. I looked at the white envelope and it was one of those "ah hah!!" moments. It was like a light bulb when on in my head.

After I read and discarded the contents in the envelope, I decided to utilize the envelope as a writing medium. I wrote in almost all of the areas: front and back and then I took a scissors and cut it open and wrote on the inside of the envelope. That one large envelope is equivalent to a few pages of a notepad.

I was happy with the idea I came up with because the landfills throughout the country are already full of excess trash. I thought to myself, "Why should I throw out a potential writing paper and create more trash?"

I saved money from not buying any more notepads as they are now selling for as much as $4.00+. They were getting more expensive as time goes on and the best benefit of all is that I am recycling. I would be going "green", "eco-friendly" and helping the environment. I have to consider the current state of the environment and how we can continue to maintain and sustain recycling over to the next generation and so on and so forth.

From that moment on, I consciously look at each envelope that is sent to me and evaluate it for a potential writing paper. Also, I wanted to emphasize that the envelope does not have to be a white envelope. I have used yellow, gray, light blue, and beige color etc. envelopes. When I spot an envelope that meets my needs, I am thrilled beyond words. I hope this tip helps lots of people save money. I have never bought another pad ever again and so happy about it.

Comment Was this helpful? 5

April 22, 2011

My favorite way to make lists is to recycle used envelopes. I just turn them over and write my list on the back. The size is great, easy to manage and take with me!

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November 15, 20054 found this helpful

When you receive some snail mail from a friend, cut off their return address and save it. Use it on the next item you mail to them. Just tape it to the package or envelope.

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January 3, 20011 found this helpful

I save the envelopes that come with the credit card offers I receive almost daily. I use these for paying bills that I normally drop off myself, the dentist, for example, is just right up the street.

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By 6 found this helpful
December 21, 2011

If you have been lucky enough to receive those beautiful Christmas cards, don't be so quick to throw away the envelopes. In my life the number of cards I receive varies from year to year, as well as how many cards I mail.

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By 5 found this helpful
March 15, 2012

I pay many bills online. Instead of throwing away the window envelopes from bills, I cut out addresses or use labels to cover the window. I don't have to buy envelopes and I am not adding paper to the garbage.

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August 9, 2016

Recycling is really easy since everything is commingled together into one container at the convenient site. However, I don't put loose paper in the recycling bin.

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February 9, 2010

I remember seeing this when I had my regular job with a school district. One of the Pre-K teachers had small bulletin board pictures and game pieces for her class stored in a large brown envelope.

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By 1 found this helpful
August 7, 2008

Save those unused envelopes with windows that sometimes come with bills. You can use them for your own personal mail by writing the address on a 3x3 inch post-it note (under or over the sticky area) and placing it in the envelope so the address is showing in the window.

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April 22, 20110 found this helpful

I like to re-use envelopes. I use a letter opener thing I got from an insurance company (a scissors will work) to neatly open the mail. Then I re-use the envelopes to write my "to do" list and/or grocery list on the blank back side. You can store coupons and receipts inside the envelope, too, which is very handy. I keep a little pile of envelopes just for this use near the phone in the kitchen.


Source: Source: my own idea

By Lee from Twin Lakes, WI


Reusing Envelopes for Lists

A great idea. I usually throw them out. So now I won't be doing that. Thank you

By Sheila

Reusing Envelopes for Lists

I have been using my envelopes in this same manner. I find it very handy to have my coupons in the envelope with my list on the back side. Thanks for letting others know about this. I also find it helpful to keep my gas receipts and my ATM receipts in envelopes which I date monthly and keep with my monthly records until I know I can shred them after they are recorded. (04/08/2008)

By Arlene

Reusing Envelopes for Lists

I too do this same thing. I also save anything from junk mail that I can re-use/recycle. It is nice to get something useful from stuff I'd have to just pitch. When those credit card invitations come, I tear anything off that is plain on one side to use for note paper. The return envelopes I save to use for grocery lists on one side and put coupons inside or I use them to send lunch money, field trip money, etc to school with my children. It's a good way to have junk become something you can use! (04/09/2008)


By Debbie Dzurilla

Reusing Envelopes for Lists

I used to always write on the backs too. I Like your grocery list idea and put your coupons in the envelope, I never did that but will now.

By Kathy

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

September 17, 20100 found this helpful

Reuse junk mail return envelopes as mailing envelopes. If envelope has a bar code at the bottom, you can run a black marker through the bar code. I always write a reminder on any box or envelope I use, such as "Go Green-Recycle" or "I recycle, do you?" If you get really irritated by all the prepaid junk mail envelopes, stick everything the company sent you in the prepaid envelope. Be sure you include your name and address section and mail it back to them at their cost! Write next to your name/address to remove you from their mailing list. Eventually they will take you off their mailing list even if you don't make a note!


By Tracey from Thomasville


Reuse Junk Mail Envelopes

A less mean-spirited way is to recycle the junk mail. The church near here is part of the Abitibi Paper Retriever recycling program with big yellow and green bins open to the public. Profits from the paper, magazines, newpapers, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, etc. go back to the companies whose parking lot is used. Look them up online.
Most websites will tell you how to unsubscribe to advertising mail. (05/04/2007)

By Jan Yofee

RE: Reuse Junk Mail Envelopes

Reuse Junk Mail Envelopes

I sometimes take the inside out, because it usually has some sort of a print on it. I then save these to my scraps of printed paper for making my own cards. (05/04/2007)

By bj

Reuse Junk Mail Envelopes

You and OhioGirl both have marvelous suggestions for recycling! I plan to start practicing your idea and looking into hers online. God bless both of you! (05/05/2007)

By Pat Giles

Reuse Junk Mail Envelopes

Consumers pay for those prepaid envelopes in the end through increased costs, so while this type of "revenge" may seem clever, I wouldn't suggest this route. Opt out, and/or reuse the envelopes in some manner. I shred anything with my name on it, and toss the usable envelopes into a basket, using them for my grocery lists, errand lists, notes to family and for to-do lists. (05/14/2007)

By Mary

Reuse Junk Mail Envelopes

Using prepaid envelopes for purposes other than the use for which they were intended is against the law. It is fraud, and may be a federal crime.

You may throw them in the trash (I hope) or use them as toilet paper, but you can not use them as correspondence envelopes with the company who sent them or other wise. (07/25/2007)

By Scott

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

November 18, 20090 found this helpful

After opening mail, keep envelopes to write shopping list or to do list. Then you can recycle.

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