The best way to go greener is simply to use existing envelopes and use them again, sealed with plastic-free packing tape. Know that you can recycle envelopes with plastic windows, as modern machinery can melt the adhesives and screen out the plastic. These rag envelopes are made from waste material from the Indian cotton industry, sold in sets in a wide range of colours. Avoid sending ‘plantable’ envelopes to people with pets, as most wildflowers are toxic to pets.
If you are sending internal mail or mail going back and fro, add the town and postcode in capital letters (no county needed), start the address at the left (not centre) and don’t use full stops or commas. Or choose hemp envelopes (blended with recycled waste paper from Houses of Parliament!) Rather than staples, use this simple Taiwanese trick to bind 16 pages at a time (no stapler needed).
use envelope reuse labels
These can be affixed to old envelopes and sent out again, to save paper and money. Envelope Angel contains 100 re-address labels that is just the right size to cover stamps and franking marks. Sold in a box with perforated cuts, to cleanly tear off when needed. Self-adhesive, so no licking required! Get in touch for bulk orders. Also in a special version for padded envelopes. Sold with refills. You can also find versions that raise money for animal charities:
- The Barn Owl Trust
- Humane Research Trust
- British Hedgehog Society (also campaign for Royal Mail to stop using rubber bands to carry letters and envelopes, as when dropped, they harm and kill hedgehogs and other wildlife – ducks think they are worms, and feed them to their chicks). They could easily use alternatives like paper belly bands or biodegradable fabric wrap with seals.