How can I reuse or recycle old padded envelopes?

Padded envelopeI’ve just started making my own jewellery and have been ordering various bits and pieces, earring findings and whatnot, over the internet – resulting in a slew of padded envelopes plopping onto our doormat.

We’ve already addressed normal envelopes and bubble wrap, but what about the jiffy envelopes that combine the two?

I’ll keep some around to reuse for their intended purpose – but has anyone got any ingenious ideas for using up the rest, taking full advantage of their padding and envelope-ness?

(Original photo by lusi)

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19 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old padded envelopes?”

  1. Megan says:

    I always keep them around and re-use them as long as I can (sometimes re-wrapping with plain brown paper if necessary or ripping the bubble part out from the paper).


    – give them to anyone you know who is moving
    – save to pack away Christmas decorations or other breakables
    – patch together and wrap with cardboard and/or fabric to make a gardening knee-pad
    – use the same technique to make a padded seat for hard chairs, children sitting on the floor, going to sporting events etc.

    That’s not really taking advantage of the envelope-ness though….

  2. Janet says:

    You could try offering them on freecycle ( to find your local group). There were some offered on the Chester site recently and they were very popular!

  3. Bonnie says:

    I reuse them for holding those preprinted address labels that come from all kinds of charities, who send them each time you make a donation and some even when you don’t.

  4. Megan Eileen says:

    To springboard off what the “other” Megan said – can you get a bunch of those envelopes together and cover them with a water-proof material? This could be used as a cushion for your knees while gardening.

  5. Katz says:

    If you are selling your jewellery (especially if you seel on-line and need to post it occasionaly) then it would be wise to hold on to these envelopes. Just cut them to size and glue bright paper over it – this way you would have a safe and personal way of posting your fragile items.

  6. Sandra says:

    A specialized use:

    These are very useful for physics projects in which one must protect a falling egg. Egg drops, we called them.

    I’d imagine most people do not have this problem, but… :)

  7. Karen says:

    My cat loves these to sleep on as they are nice and spongy and don’t tear when she kneads them! She has two of them going at the moment, both underneath chairs. They have been in use since Dec 06! and she hasn’t got bored of them since :)

  8. pamphyila says:

    When I used to work at a library – we used the padded envelopes over & over to mail books. I rarely buy padded envelopes, as I re-use the ones I receive…(And the new ones cost $1 a piece sometimes!)

  9. Katie says:

    Iā€™m an avid ebay user and have tones of these all sorted into size. When I have finished selling all my stuff any left over envelopes are going on ebay as a bulk buy. Always re-use.

  10. Estelle says:

    I work in a company that regularly mails and delivers books. As long as the envelopes aren’t too dog-eared, I re-use them, put on a sticker w the new address, and I put on another sticker saying: ‘Packaging can be recycled and reused. Please recycle or reuse this packaging.’
    I hope that by setting the example, I am contributing to general awareness. It also saves us a lot of money, as padded envelopes are costly.

  11. Pai says:

    Depending on the envelope, you can sometimes turn them inside out and reuse them, save a bit of money that way.

    • Jason says:

      This I do with undies! And front to back too! And then with my neighbour! It multiplies the possibilities.
      Thought I’d share.

  12. anna says:

    I always use them for the same purpose. Worst case you can take or glue some paper to cover the old address labels and stamps.
    So I have usually a selection of different sizes – brilliant for sending books or anything fragile.

  13. Jane says:

    I feel that small local businesses could offer to recycle padded envelopes & other packaging which would otherwise be thrown away by the public. I have a boxful of such envelopes sitting unused in the loft which could be re-used several times over. It’s a matter of putting the right people in touch with each other!

  14. Gaynor says:

    Depending on the size of the envelope, you could cover it in some of that sticky backed, clear plastic and turn your large padded envelope into a laptop or notebook bag. You would need to add a clip and string to fastening the envelope but that is easy enough (think those old fashioned inter-office envelopes we used to use before email). This would make a funky laptop cover for a college kid. Or you could use duct tape to cover the entire envelope instead of using the laminating plastic? Or maybe fuse together shopping bags from the store and use those to cover the envelope?

    I think I will go and play around with some used padded envelopes to see what I can come up with.

  15. Katie Rutz says:

    We would love to take them off your hands. How much? We could really use tons of them here for this small business. Please email me at

  16. cleverclogs says:

    my local oxfam bookshop takes these as they sell many books by mail order. ask the manager.

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