Posts tagged "envelope"

How can I reuse or recycle plastic shipping/mailing bags?

Kayci has emailed:

First off, I absolutely love your website and all the nifty and creative ideas your community finds.

Now for a confession: I am a bookworm. I typically go through 100+ novels a year without breaking a sweat. In an effort to try and green up my hobbies I’ve stopped going to the used bookstore as often, as it is a twenty mile drive, and when I do go I always buy in bulk. I’ve also switched from Amazon to They’re consistently cheaper, and they reward you for buying used books out of the same location.

My problem? Amazon always uses boxes, even if it was three or four of them per order. My new website sends my books in one large plastic bag (picture enclosed) that is numberless as far as recycling is concerned. The bags in question (I’ve amassed six so far) are 12×16 inches and have some minor holes from the shipping process. The texture of the bag isn’t conducive to making it into plarn, as it stretches out very easily. Any other ideas?

Hi fellow bookworm :)

The first thing you should do is email thriftbooks and explain your problem – they might not take action and change to cardboard (or similar) straightaway but the more people who complain about it, the more likely they are to change at some point — so join that chorus.

If they’re in good condition, and have been opened neatly with scissors, they can be reused for their original purpose – as a slightly smaller mailing sack next time you need to send something out. Unless you send a lot of things though, they may quickly mount up.

When we get those type of bags (and actually there is one on my desk right now that needs reusing!), we tend to use them as bin liners – obviously holey ones aren’t going to be good for small/wet rubbish but they’re fine in most circumstances.

That’s not terrible creative though – any other ideas?

What can I reuse or recycle to make small seed envelopes?

I asked this question on Twitter yesterday forgetting I had a blog dedicated to such things ;)

Basically, I want to make some small envelopes/pouches for sharing spare seeds at a seed swap.

I imagine I’ll make them using scrap paper (old envelopes seem a logical place to start but I’m open to other suggestions) but I don’t know how will be best to go about making them.

I usually just use a complete old envelope (one of the bigger-than-A5 ones that the banks use, since that’ll all I really get through the post these days) – but the seeds only take up a tiny amount of space so that’s convenient but excessively bulky. And since I’m giving them away, I’d like them to be a bit neater/fit for purpose if possible.

They need to be reasonably tightly made (since some of the seeds are very small and will fall out of holes) and, if possible, resealable in some way (even if it’s just having enough space at one end to be folded over firmly a few times). Ideally they’ll be water resistant too.

The wonderful Mary Horesh suggested a great how-to for making super cute envelopes out of a square of paper – so that’s one idea. Any other how-to suggestions?

And any ideas/advice about what paper to go for or avoid? I’m imagining anything pulpy like newspaper or cheap book paper will be a no-no because they’ll absorb water rather than resisting it.

Any non-paper options?

How can I reuse or recycle plastic pockets with popper seals?

plastic pocketEstelle – of Monday’s shelf-lining foam query – had a second “how can I recycle…” question:

How to reuse/recycle these small, transparent plastic envelopes that airlines use to put the freebie eyemask and ear plugs in?

I presume they throw them away when used? I recently flew Air France and salvaged a few of them lying about before I disembarked. I expect they have infinite uses. But what are they?

I use them to store small things that would otherwise get lost in my clothing cupboard, like those detachable decorated bra straps, and ‘secret socks’ (undersize socks to wear inside ones shoes). They could be nice for storing bits of jewellery too, perhaps.

Funny that Estelle should use them for tidying her underwear drawer – I’ve got a few in mine as well since multi-pack knickers tend to come in a similar be-poppered bag. We’ve got another envelope like that in the kitchen, to hold take-away menus.

Other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle … plastic magazine baggies?

Magazine baggieConnie Deakins submitted this comment on the used envelopes post but I thought I’d bring it here to highlight it:

How can I recycle the plastic envelopes that the Radio Times is sent in, and other publications? I have heard there is a place that recycles these but cannot locate it.

I assume she means the plastic bags which are used to send magazines – or similarly sized thin catalogues – through the post. I’ve got one in front of me now which says “this plastic wrapping will degrade harmlessly under the right conditions with 12-18 months” but it doesn’t say what those right conditions are. And also “degrade” isn’t exactly the best thing, unless it’s compostable degrading as happens with corn-based “plastics”.

So any thoughts or suggestions?