Unfortunately, mixed material shipping envelopes are hard to recycle.

EDITOR'S NOTE: All of Ask Renee's columns are moving to NUVO! Here's one from August of 2015.

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How can we easily recycle those NASTY bubble pack/paper shipping envelopes? I can only use so many a second time, but it drives me crazy to throw them away since they can’t go with my film/plastic bags or to my paper recycling.

I compliment others who buy and use the bags that are made out of recycled newspaper!

Thank you.




I also wish I had a better answer to your question. Unfortunately, mixed material shipping envelopes are hard to recycle. You could separate the materials and recycle accordingly — it sounds like you’re just the kind of recycling freak who might take the time to do that! You may also collect them and put them out on Freecycle or Craigslist for people who sell lots of stuff online. I hear you can even sell used padded envelopes on eBay to people who sell on eBay.

Some other random ideas for reuse I found online include:

Use as knee pads when gardening,

Wrap around water pipes as insulation in the winter, or

Cover a few with fabric to make a padded seat for a hard chair or for sitting in the bleachers at a sporting event — maybe even slide a few in an old sports team t-shirt to take to the game. (Why didn’t I think of this for the suicide seats at Naptown Roller Girls bouts?)

Piece out,


(NOTE: This letter and response appeared in the Aug. 12 edition of NUVO.)


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Renee Sweany

Renee Sweany

Renee has spent the past several years surrounding herself with like-minded people who share her passion for caring for the planet. She began writing “Ask Renee” after four years of offering green tips through her e-newsletter Green Piece Indy. E-mail her your green living queries at

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