Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Repurposing junk mail
Bulk mail. Perhaps the most annoying daily reminder of useless waste and pathetic, uninspired advertising. I just always wonder, what percentage of the population actually pours through these mailers and runs out to snap up the bottles of Miracle Whip for the bargain price of $1.89? Undboubtedly, most pieces of junk mail travel a short distance from mailbox to trash can. A while ago, I spent the few minutes it took to stop the various bulk mail bundles from arriving at my apartment--If you haven't already done the same, the info is here. The good news is it worked, and fairly quickly. But I moved into a temporary housesitting situation for a couple months and was faced with the massive amounts of "fresh boneless meat flaps!", "2 for 1 cans of creamed corn" announcements all over again. I finally got around to submitting my friends' address to the companies' "do not send" lists, but in the meantime, for weeks the mailers piled up. I refused to throw them away, vowing to find some use for them, damnit. Running late to a birthday party one day, I ended up wrapping the present with some grocery store's weekly specials, and I must admit I was incredibly pleased with the way it turned out. The same glossy, pandering ads for pork chops and bell peppers that made me cringe at the mailbox actually looked pretty cool around sharp corners. And as my friend Tracy says, wrapping is all about the ribbon anyway (so save every ribbon you get and reuse those too). I was so pleased with the result that I found myself looking forward to the next opportunity I had to wrap something--anything--with salvaged bulk mailers. I have enough just from one month's worth of mail to wrap every present I'll ever give out. So first things first, get on the "do not send" lists. But while the flow of waste is still coming, find a use for the bright colors. They'd make great matting behind photos in a frame...you could cut them into thin strips to make bookmarks, or make them into unique envelopes...What else?