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DCL

Last week I stumbled across a really great DIY project for reusing security envelopes, and it got me to thinking. Sure there are reusable envelopes, but given how many single-use envelopes we receive each year, I wondered about the many ways we could reuse before we recycle.

I scoured the Internet and wracked my brain for DIY ideas and compiled a list of 15 reuses for envelopes.

1. Cover the mailing address with a label and reuse the envelope. This is especially good for envelopes that come with bills and junk mail.

2. For envelopes with pre-paid postage, carefully unfold the envelope, turn it inside out and re-glue for a clean exterior. (Via The Greenest Dollar.)

3. Make business card envelopes with instructions from Crafting a Green World. You can modify this pattern to make unique gift card holders.

4. Use return envelopes to make packets for storing seeds. Seal the envelope, then cut down the middle to create two pouches. Pour in seeds, fold over and use a paper clip to fasten.

5. Envelopes are the perfect size for lists: grocery lists, to-do lists, movies to watch lists...The list (pardon the pun) is endless.

6. Unfold security envelopes and use the patterned side as a special scrapbooking paper.

7. Bring envelopes back to life once again with a little help from magazines. Use images cut out of magazines to cover the previous sender's address or to repair a torn edge or flap. (Via Crafty Green Poet.)

8. Keep your tax files organized by tucking receipts into envelopes. You can even create a multi-pocket organizer: Stack the envelopes and glue the back of the first to the front of the second, the back of the second to the front of the third, and so on.9. A small envelope is a great bookmark.10. Keep envelopes for the kids to use as scratch paper when they're doing homework.11. Make pretty gift bags with easy-to-follow instructions from How About Orange.12. Use a small, blank envelope—such as the ones that come with flowers—as a gift tag. Just fold the flap in or seal it, then write the recipient's name on it and you're done. You can also use larger envelopes to make several tags by cutting them down to size.13. Unfold security envelopes and cut the envelope to make arty labels for notebooks, files and mail.14. Wrap small gifts with envelopes.15. Glue an envelope into the front or back of a notebook to hold loose notes. Make sure the open end is oriented to the spine of the notebook so the loose pieces of paper don't slip away.Cara Smusiak writes on behalf of Naturally Savvy.com about how to live a more natural, organic and green lifestyle.