How can I reuse or recycle window envelopes?

We’ve talked about envelopes in general and special types of envelopes – liked padded ones and plastic mailing bags – but I wondered if there are any reuses that take advantage of the see-through bit of window envelopes.

Different places have different policies on whether or not they can be including in general paper recycling bins – some complain about the window, others about the window & glue. The only snail mail I send is either parcels or things that arrived with a pre-addressed/pre-paid envelope so I can’t really reuse them as envelopes. Instead, the blank parts from the backs of envelopes goes into my desk scrap paper pad. If it’s been printed on, it goes into the kindling pile for our stove – but either way, the window comes out.

So any reusing/recycling ideas for intact window envelopes, that take advantage of the window? Or any suggestions for reusing the window by itself?

(Btw, I’ve noticed that some window envelopes are now made from glassine – a largely transparent type of paper. Glassine is not accepted in all paper recycling collection bin and it takes its sweet sweet time to compost because it is water-resistant – best to leave it out of your bin if you want a quick turnover.)

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9 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle window envelopes?”


  1. cmdweb says:

    Bizarrely, windowed envelopes seemed to create confusion for our local council. The advice given was that windowed envelopes shouldn’t be put into the paper recycling bin but non-windowed envelopes should.
    We ended up tearing the windows out for a while so the remainder of the envelope could go into the paper recycling but I’ve never seen any reason why they can just go with the paper – the same bin also has plastic and tin in ot, so there must be a sorting process somewhere along the line.

  2. bookstorebabe says:

    I have seen them used to make bookmarks. Cut a long rectangular bookmark shaped piece, including the window, through both layers. Lay something between the two layers, under the window-a dried flower, a picture-affix in place. Decorate the rest as you will, glue the layers together.
    That only helps for a few, unless you need a craft project for a group of kids, but it’s something.
    Oh, perhaps the windows would be good to use when making scrapbooks, or arty altered books?

  3. Window envelopes are great for incorporating into art works such as collages, or sending gifts such as book tokens or money – I once had a ten-pound note sent as a birthday present in a window envelope, carefully placed so that the Queen’s head appeared in the window, and with a surrounding design painted on the actual envelope (thanks to that wonderful artist, my mother!).

  4. Brenda says:

    I have used the plastic in the windows for crafting shaker cards and just made some bookmarks for the garden club. will try and post next week.

  5. Leonie says:

    When we were kids we used to love drawing little houses on window envelopes- using the windows as….er…. windows!! We’d cut people out of magazines etc… to be looking out sometimes!!

  6. Medeea says:

    I keep my necklaces in a few envelopes, one necklace per envelope.
    It is useful, because jewelry don’t get tangled, they don’t get “stressed” by hanging them…easy to see

  7. Uluska says:

    Write a chore for your family member on a sheet of paper, write on another side: SECRET. Make sure you arrange word SECRET right in the window of the envelope, so it’s visible. Then nonchalantly place envelope for your family member to find and, most importantly, to read the content! Who would not pick into some SECRET information?

  8. Tulip says:

    Store one photo in each, and you can easy find one you need without shuffling and scratching them.

  9. The answer may well be to put them in your usual recycling bin. Your council may not be geared to recycle them but if they end up with a lot of them then they are forced to come up with a solution and stop being lazy.



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