By Liesl Clark
Refuse & Reduce: We never buy anything for shipping like envelopes, bubble-pack mailers, Tyvek pouches, padded envelopes and boxes because we receive so many of them. Why would I buy new ones when I have plenty coming in the door?
“Because they’ll look used and that won’t look professional if you reuse them,” you might say.
Well, we’re a company that’s all about reuse, so there’s no problem gussying up a used envelope to resend to a client or partner. We have no problem reusing boxes for shipping, why not reuse padded envelopes? And, frankly, when I see a corporation reuse an envelope, said corporation goes way up in my estimation because of the positive action I see them taking in reusing perfectly good materials rather then sending them to the landfill. Don’t you feel the same?
I’ve gone so far as to send a note of thanks when I receive a little something in a reused mailer. Kudos to that employee for doing the right thing! It usually means you’re simply sticking a new address label over the old one. A little piece of scrap paper will do of course, and you’ll likely need some glue or tape as well. Staples can be used to seal up the mailer and you’re good to move on to your next task.
Reuse and Share: I save up my mailers so I can Freecycle them to others who need them. Just before Christmas, I was able to offload a pile of padded envelopes to a Freecycler who needed them for a company mailing. Using my old mailers surely saved him some money. And he was truly thankful to receive them. I included some blank mailing labels so he could cover up my address, but I often use a Sharpie to black-out the addresses and bar codes on previous mailers.
I often add a small heart to the envelope with the words “Reuse Me” in it to encourage the recipient of my envelope to reuse it.
If you are a company that regularly uses padded envelopes for shipping, post a WANTED on Freecycle and get the word out to others that stockpiling them is a good idea because others can use them.
Can You Reuse Plastic Mailers & Envelopes? What about Tyvek plastic envelopes that have logos on them or come from FedEx and yet you want to use the good ole’ USPS? I simply turn them inside out!
A plastic padded envelope can be used both inside and out.
Turn Your Padded Envelope Into Something Cool! Creme de la Craft has a great tutorial for transforming your padded envelope into an ipad case. Simple. Smart.
Recycle Tyvek Plastic Envelopes & Mailers: And if you ever have too many to use and can’t offload them, did you know you can recycle Tyvek envelopes through Dupont? For small quantities (less than 25 envelopes/month), turn any Tyvek® envelope inside out, so the unprinted white surface shows on the outside. Stuff the inside-out Tyvek® envelope with other used Tyvek® envelopes for recycling. Address and mail the envelope to: Tyvek® Recycle Attn. Shirley B. Wright 8401 Fort Darling Road Richmond, VA 23237. Easy!
Make Your Own Mailers: If you’ve run out of mailers and no one has them for you on Freecycle, make your own using cereal or cracker boxes. Adventures in Fluff has super simple instructions for how to make your own paperboard envelope. You’ll wonder why you ever bought them in the first place after making one or 2. And they’re very cool because they send a nice message of reuse to your mail recipient.
Now your shipping is getting closer to zero waste!
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to make envelopes or reuse those you receive in the mail, please visit our Trash Backwards app where all items in your home and office can be reused, recycled and rethought.