9 Awesome Uses for Junk Mail

By Jordan Laio, Networx

Most people don’t give a second thought to tossing junk mail in the recycling bin. But with over 100 billion pieces delivered annually, some savvy recipients are seeing it differently. Instead of seeing junk mail as junk, they see it as a gold mine. As the saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

For this reason, some people order as much junk mail as they can. I once read about a man who burned his junk mail. He received enough of it to keep his house warm all winter. In another vein, JunkMailGems.com strictly sells products made from re-purposed junk mail.

Here is a list of creative and useful things you can do with your junk mail. Of course, take into consideration the different types of paper used in junk mailings and chemicals that may be in adhesives or inks:


1. Burn in Place of Wood

Yep, you can do it too. Stay warm in the winter by a fire made of all that junk mail. Just throwing it in the fireplace won’t be too effective, but by using a product like the Newspaper Brick Maker (about $30) you can make paper bricks that will burn like real wood.

2. Use as Packing Material

Sure, dehydrated mushroom mycelia and plastic pillows filled with air are both good green packing material options, but why not use your bounty of junk mail? Just run it through the shredder and use to ship or store fragile objects.

Image: victor.ramos/Flickr

3. Use as Animal Bedding

Avoid the cost of buying bedding for your small rodent friends by shredding your junk mail. It might also come in handy as bedding for your urban chickens.

4. Use as a Funnel

This works best with those return envelopes you get in the mail. Simply cut a small section of one corner of an envelope (for the bottom of the funnel) and a larger portion from its opposite corner (the mouth of the funnel). Use this to conveniently refill salt and pepper shakers. This idea is one of the useful ideas from JunkMailGems.com.

For these gardening projects, make sure there are no toxic adhesives or inks on the paper goods you use.

4. Make Seedling Pots

Another clever product is The PotMaker (about $15). You can use paper to make seedling pots, which can then be planted directly into the soil and will decompose on their own. This way, you don’t have to buy plastic pots (which saves money and resources).

5. Garden Mulch

You can literally lay out junk mail or old newspapers on your garden as a mulch. This makes an excellent weed barrier and will have all the benefits of traditional mulch. But since this is a little aesthetically displeasing, you might also want to cover with a layer of leaves or other traditional mulch.

Alternatively, you can also shred junk mail or old newspapers first and then lay them as mulch. This will break down easier.


6. Handmade Recycled Paper

Instructions for how to make your own recycled paper from junk mail or old newspapers abound on the internet. It is a fun art project and a relatively easy way to make some really pretty paper.

7. Make Mosaic Portraits

Artist Sandhi Schimmel Gold is another individual who has found a way to make money from her junk mail. She creates colorful portraits in a sort of mosaic style from bits she cuts from junk mail and other paper waste. It’s easy to do this yourself. Just take a picture you’d like to use, cut out colored bits from your junk mail and magazines, and paste them onto the picture. Then either hang on the refrigerator or sell for $2,000.

8. Festive Decorations

The classic elementary school paper chain, useful as a decoration or for visually representing how many days until the school year ends, can be made from junk mail instead of the more traditional construction paper.

9. Bookmark

Sure, you can just grab a piece of junk mail and use it as a bookmark. I do that sometimes. But another clever idea from JunkMailGems.com is to cut the corner from a junk mail envelope and use that corner as a bookmark by placing on the corner of the page you’re marking. That’s a little more graceful than sticking your whole pre-approved credit card envelope in there.

Junk Mail Madness – How to Make it Stop!
9 Ways to Cut Paper Clutter
5 Crafty Ideas for Reusing Paper

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Sonia Minwer Barakat Requ

Good ideas,thanks for sharing

Winn Adams
Winn Adams2 years ago


Aditya n.
Aditya n.2 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn Adams2 years ago


Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.2 years ago

If junk mail is blank on the other side, I use it for taking notes and for writing words which I try to remember over and over again (very useful while learning Russian because of the different alphabet: the words have to be encoded visually as well). :-)

Dale Overall

Well gee thanks Sundeep S, we really had to see your comment how many times or do you do that to get an extra twenty points each time you do that-who knows? We only need to read it once.
Burning junk mail in the fireplace is likely doing to release toxic fumes into one's home.
Certainly the idea of cat toys is fun as many cats will chase and play with crumpled papers more than some of the expensive toys purrchased for them!
Too bad there is not a solution of the junk mail sent to our in boxes! No matter how many times one uses the "Sweep" feature to filter them out they just change the numbers on their future mails and the same companies send the same junk e mails as before. Especially the dating sites that do not even get my sex right!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago


Samantha Hodder
Sam Hodder3 years ago


Pat W.
Pat W.3 years ago

thank you for the ideas

Carole R.
Carole R.3 years ago

Some good ideas here. Keep the post office in business.