Recycled Snail Mail | June 26, 2008

I’m on summer break from college right now, and what that means – at least in my group of friends – is sending letters and checking the mailbox. I know, seems odd for college students these days! However, one of my friends loves writing letters, and many of us have caught the bug, including me. While we still connect through Facebook, and keep current on each others lives through IM and phone, there’s still this tangible joy you get from writing and receiving letters by post.

What does all that, though, have to do with recycling?

Well, my same friend who loves letters, also loves reducing, reusing, recycling, and being green in general. I found myself lacking an envelope that fit a card I wanted to send her, and decided to combine both interests into one useful package: I made an envelope!

As much as I wish the story ended there, it didn’t. Turned out that the template I used to make the envelope wasn’t quite the right size for my card. I ended up scrapping the card (it’s back in my stationary stash), and searched for something to write a letter on. I like using unique and/or reused papers, and I hate sending the same stationary to someone twice. 😉 I happened upon some psychology notes from this past fall semester, and finally felt this letter coming together.

I typed up a letter, and printed it on the back of my notes, and found, on another page, a hand I doodled and colored in. It looked cool, so I cut it out, and glued it to the flap of my envelope (which was printed on paper from another letter sending enterprise). I like how everything turned out, and was happy that I found a way around the whole lack-of-an-envelope annoyance, and came up with a more unique letter presentation.

This morning, I was trying to think of ways to increase my stationary stash, since that was one reason why I was having problems with finding something to send. I decided to continue with my recycled theme, and went off to make more envelopes. I ended up making them out of a Bath & Body works bag, which turned out neat, and bright. Then I dug through some of my old high school papers, and gathered up a couple of piles from my senior year Japanese class. If I’m going to reuse old papers to make envelopes and send letters, why not use stuff that looks cool, right?

So far, I’ve only made one from my Japanese classpapers, but it fits the card I was missing an envelope for. Good enough for me!

The drawn on lined paper is going to be used as stationary – the other side is blank for writing. I found an AP project I did, visually summarizing Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. Two years later, and I can still remember the majority of the book because of that! I didn’t want to use the original, so I scanned it and printed it onto the lined paper. I think it looks cool, and I like that it’s more than just a piece of paper – it’s a part of my personal history that I can share when I send my friends letters. 🙂

This initial foray into recycled letter writing has been fun. I hoping that reusing all this papers I lying around will really increase my stationary stash, and get rid of some stuff without it all going into the trash.


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