The average adult receives about 41 pounds of junk mail every year. People tend to quickly flip through junk mail and throw most of it out, or put it right in the garbage bin without even taking a closer look. But instead of tossing all of your junk mail, why not find clever ways to reuse it around your house to reduce waste? Here are some ways to get started:
Protect your floors from spills.
Do you have any furry critters running around your house? Pets can sometimes make a mess when they eat food out of a bowl. Luckily, you don’t have to get on your hands and knees to scrub the floors after every meal. Instead, take a flyer or catalog out of your junk mail pile and put it underneath your pet’s food bowl. The food will splatter onto the junk mail instead of the floor, so clean up is much easier.
Keep a stack by the phone.
Have you ever scrambled to find a notepad when you’re on the phone and need to jot down an address, phone number, or directions? Keep a small stack of junk mail envelopes around the house so you can easily grab one the next time this happens.
Do you sell items on eBay or Etsy? If so, shred all of your junk mail and use it to stuff your envelopes and boxes before you ship products to customers. This way, you won’t have to spend money—or produce more waste—by buying packing peanuts or other shipping materials.
Put it in place for potty training.
Many pet owners buy pee-pee pads to help potty train their new pets. Instead of purchasing housebreaking pads, put down a layer of junk mail to protect your floors from accidents. If your animal is kept in a cage while you’re out of the house, line the bottom of the cage with junk mail so it’s easier to clean up when you return.
Do your kids love arts and crafts? Keep all of your junk mail and then spend a lazy Saturday afternoon transforming it into a unique work of art with your kids. Kids will love the bright, bold colors and different materials used in junk mail, so hand them a pile and let them cut out fun designs or create unique collages.
Use it as wrapping paper.
Rip pages out of a catalog or magazine and use them as wrapping paper the next time you celebrate a birthday or holiday with your friends and family. Catalog pages are usually fairly thick and sturdy, so they should hold up well as wrapping paper. Plus, your gift will stand out when placed next to other gifts under the tree or at a birthday party.
Reuse the return envelopes.
Take the time to open junk mail and pull out any return envelopes that are inside. These are included to entice you to respond to whatever the junk mail sender is offering, but if you aren’t going to, keep them and reuse them when you need to mail something. Just be sure to cover any barcodes that are on the front of the envelope.
Follow these tips and you’ll no longer view junk mail as unnecessary and useless—plus, you won’t have to fill your recycling bin with piles of letters, catalogs, and flyers!