junk mail

Home, Home and Garden

Can You Recycle Envelopes?

can you recycle envelopes

can you recycle envelopes

A little while ago I got an email from a reader asking me “can you recycle envelopes?”.  She said she’d read conflicting information on the internet and wanted a definitive answer on whether you can, or cannot recycle envelopes.

As much as I try to give advice that covers most people in the UK, the trouble is there is in fact no definitive answer to if you can recycle envelopes or not – it all lies with your local council, and the recycling facilities they have in place.  Some councils say that you can recycle envelopes provided you rip out the cellophane window.  Others say that when recycling envelopes you shouldn’t remove the cellophane – that they can recycle them as they are.  Other local councils say they can’t recycle any envelopes at all – windowed or not – as the adhesives in envelopes can gum up the machines.

Why it has to differ so much from one area to another does baffle me.  My local council (West Lothian Council) won’t recycle any envelopes at all, so it’s a complete pain in the bum for us!

So the best advice on the can you recycle envelopes question is: check with your local council.  Sorry I couldn’t be more conclusive!

What can you do if your council doesn’t recycle envelopes?

red post box

My favourite red post box – it’s in South Queensferry!

If your local council doesn’t recycle envelopes here are five ideas to minimise waste from envelopes:

*  Reuse envelopes as shopping lists or as notepaper for beside the phone

*  Open your envelopes very carefully and reuse them

*  Use them for saving and storing seeds over the winter

*  Cut up envelopes to use as packaging labels – I reuse envelopes to post items I’ve sold on eBay.  To make labels I’ll cut up an old envelope rather than using a fresh sheet of paper.

*  Remove the window from the envelope,  and shred the paper.  This paper can then be placed in your composter – the minimal amount of adhesive used in envelopes should break down easily in your composter.  See this guide on how to compost if you’re new to composting!

Other good ideas to reduce the amount of envelopes coming in to your home are:

*  Opt out of junk mail

*  Ask your utility providers to switch you to paperless billing.

*  Likewise, ask your bank to switch you to paperless statements.

Another idea is to try to limit the amount of envelopes you send:

*  Send eCards instead of greetings cards – Paperless Post is one of my favourite sites for free (and really nice looking, non-cheesy) eCards.

And alternatively, If you’ve got the time and are that way inclined then you could make your own envelopes out of recycled paper??

That’s just ten ideas for recycling envelopes and reducing the amount of envelopes in your life.  Does anyone have any other ideas for recycling envelopes – do share in the comments below!

Home, Home and Garden

How to Stop Junk Mail

how to stop junk mail uk

Junk mail is one of my biggest bugbears and lately, I’ve been keen to find out how to stop junk mail.  From my research, I’ve put together a guide on how to stop junk mail, which I’m sure you’ll find useful!

The biggest offenders in my area are Virgin Media and Farmfoods (I’m all for naming and shaming).  I swear we get a Virgin Media circular through our door every other day (the worst part is we don’t even live in an area where you can get all of the Virgin Media services!).

H&M are also terrible.  If you buy something online they will automatically put your name on their catalogue distribution list and send you what seems like at least one catalogue a fortnight.  My partner also found himself on that same list, so it came to be that we were receiving two copies of the same catalogue every fortnight.  It took about 3 months of me returning every brochure that was sent to me before they took us off of their list.  And then one of us bought something else online, and the pesky catalogues started again.  Cue more sending the catalogues back until they took my name off the list (and a vow to only ever shop in-store in H&M).

how to stop junk mail uk

How to Stop Junk Mail

What can you do to stop junk mail?  First of all, do what I do with H&M and return any personally addressed junk mail to the sender.  Just cross through your address, add a note to the envelope asking to be removed from their mailing list, and put it back in the post box.  You don’t need to add a stamp – I never do.  Most companies get the message quite quickly and you won’t receive any more unsolicited post, others, like H&M, are a bit slower on the uptake.

Next on your checklist for how to stop junk mail is to sign up for the Mail Preference Service.  This is a free service which you can use to get your name and address removed from lists used by companies to market their products.  This means you will receive no junk mail addressed to you personally, however, it does not stop mail addressed “to the householder” or un-addressed junk mail being delivered, nor junk mail originating from abroad.

The next step you can do is to put a “no junk mail”, or “no circulars” sticker or sign on your letterbox.  This will help remind people, such as local fast food shops, not to put circulars through your letterbox, but will not stop the postman putting junk mail through your letterbox.  Apparently, postmen are contractually obligated to give you any junk mail that companies have paid Royal Mail to deliver.  It also won’t stop the delivery of free newspapers – you’ll have to add a “no free newspapers” sign on your letterbox as well.  If you’re worried about how all of this is going to look on your letterbox, then the Stop Junk Mail website (which gives very comprehensive advice, by the way), sell some letterbox stickers for only 90p.  You can even get some fancy aluminium signs for only £4.50 on there.

To then stop the postman delivering junk mail to you, you have to opt-out via the Royal Mail website.  I’ve found that Royal Mail makes this as difficult as possible for you to do and for that reason, I haven’t done it yet.  You have to write to Royal Mail or e-mail them.  They send you a form by post, which you then have to fill in send back to them.  It’s too much of a long-winded faff for me, but one day I will do this.  To opt out you can either send your name and address to:

Royal Mail Door to Door Opt-Outs
Kingsmead House
Oxpens Road

Or e-mail your name and address to optout@royalmail.com

This lets you opt out of junk mail for two years, then you have to re-contact Royal Mail and go through the whole rigmarole again.  Again, a bit of a faff but it’s a key action in how to stop junk mail.

Have I missed anything on how to stop junk mail?  Let me know in the comments below!