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Down with ugly recycled packaging!

I regularly receive boxes full of books, magazines & DVDs on my doorstep, and I also send boxes full of books, magazines & DVDs back out to polymer clay addicts everywhere.  As such, it only makes sense that some of those first boxes should be reused to serve the second purpose, don’t you think?

I do reuse boxes where I can, but I have to admit that those old boxes make me cringe.  With their dinged-up sides, their remnants of old shipping labels, and their torn up packing tape, – they offend my aesthetic sensibilities!

I like my packages to look neat and clean when they leave my house, their labels affixed straightly.  And I’ll admit it – I love the crisp look of brand new packaging.

BUT.  Brand new packaging costs money.  And natural resources.  So, I came up with an idea to make me feel better.

Dressing up an ugly box

This label features a stylized recycling symbol and the words “I may not be the prettiest package, but I’m helping to save a tree!”  I can put this nice, crisp label on any old crummy-looking box or envelope, thereby appealing to my desire for attractive packaging, and absolving me from any blame for such an ugly parcel.  Heh.

Dressing up an ugly box

Ok, I’m half kidding.  I wouldn’t really throw away a perfectly good box just because it was ugly.  But I’d want to, LOL!  I plan to use these labels, and if you think you could also use them, they’re yours for the taking.  You can download your pick of two formats:

  1. PDF to use as-is
  2. Word document to allow you to make small changes (margins, wording, etc.)

Dressing up an ugly box

Print the document onto a sheet of Avery-8160-compatible labels, and you’re good to go.  Use them on shipping materials, boxes, envelopes, even non-traditional gift wrap.  Enjoy!

(Oh, and I should probably also point out that perhaps buying a new batch of labels for this purpose wouldn’t be considered particularly green, but if you’ve already got them laying around… why not?)

26 thoughts on “Down with ugly recycled packaging!

  1. I love this! I am on a green kick so this is perfect!

    See what MANDY has been blogging about: Photo Story Friday: My Nine Pounder turns NINE!

  2. thank you so much for sharing! I always feel funny when I mail a package out in this terribly-ugly recycled packaging- so I try to make up for it on the inside- by wrapping it in a special way.. these labels are great!

  3. Great idea!

  4. I always re-use shipping boxes, and often take a bunch from work to have on hand. Just think of how you are also saving on your costs by not buying new!! Thanks for sharing the labels with us. Enjoy your weekend 🙂

    See what MelissaS has been blogging about: Hoppy Birthday, Mason!

  5. Lisa,
    what a wonderful idea. I have the same problem and this is really a cute solution.
    BTW my daughters name is Lisa too, it was the most popular name in 1991 in germany, as I found out later.

    1. It was the most popular name in the US in the late 1960’s. My parents were behind the curve, naming me Lisa in 1971 😀

  6. Good idea — thanks for sharing these. While I’m being good & recycling boxes, I may just slap one of those labels on me too! 😉

    See what Angela M. has been blogging about: Autumn-Themed Thank You Card

    1. Are you trying to say you are an unattractive container? LOL! Now, now… pregnant is pretty 🙂

  7. is blogging: Down with ugly recycled packaging! http://tinyurl.com/59l9ho

  8. Ha! I just left a comment on Flickr, and I was getting ready to make some of my own labels, but you’ve done it for me! Thanks for sharing!!

    See what Addie has been blogging about: Etsy Front Page 9/25/08

  9. thanks for sharing. so cute!

  10. lisa—again fantastic!! i do have to let out a little secret…someone i know sends her stuff in sewn packaging. She buys the brown paper at a home store (used for painting cover) in the big roll. Cuts it into pieces and sews the 3 sides. Then sticks whatever in and then sews the 4th side. and mails it. Maybe that might work too with the mags and books 😉 just a thought….plus no more toppeling piles of boxes -oh, that would be me–

    See what becky has been blogging about: Idol time?

    1. That is such a cool idea! Too bad I am entirely too lazy, LOL! Ok, maybe “lazy” is too harsh a word, but I really can’t see myself doing this when I have 20+ orders to mail.

  11. This is so cool! I have ugly packages too & I definitely plan on using these. Thanks!!

    See what nikki/whimsylove has been blogging about: Tacky Canvas Bag Turned "FaBuLoUs" Tutorial!

  12. Oh, my! Thanks for the labels!

    I reuse boxes, too. Sometimes, when they’re just TOO ugly to be borne, I undo the seams and turn them inside out. This is a Much simpler solution, lol.

    See what Anitra Cameron has been blogging about: 5 STEPS TO RUINED

  13. Thank you! Definitely using these. I usually end up making smiley faces out of the amazon boxes with a sharpie.

    See what Carrie G has been blogging about: Studio Space

  14. These are FABULOUS! I use old cardboard as well and hate when it doesn’t look pretty. These are just the thing I need! I’ll be linking…

  15. Oh this is perfect. My sister and I reused a box 3 times for now. She’ll be using it again!! Thank you!!!

    See what Sonja has been blogging about: Leilias 18 days young

  16. Great idea! I usually doodle on my ugly envelopes to make them pretty 🙂

    See what Lynsey has been blogging about: More treasuries 🙂

  17. Thanks Lisa for sharing your wonderful idea, I’ve an online store and are always wondering how can I make the recycled packaging looks better or more eco-friendly. Your labels are such a sweet way to tell our customers that we are trying to save the earth.

    Cheers

    See what Charlene has been blogging about: Presents for our dear friends…

  18. That is such a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing – I know I’ll be using them~

    See what Melanie has been blogging about: Geisha Under Glass

  19. You totally rock Lisa!! I’m sharing this on my blog =)

  20. Thanks so much for posting these! What a great idea. 🙂 I’m going to have to print some of these out for all the packages that I’ve been mailing lately.

    I hope that it’s okay that I posted about this on blog. You rock!

  21. Since the USPS requires a securely taped package, instead of using purchased label sheets, print out on the back of already used letter paper, then cut apart and tape the label in place using CLEAR wide mail/strapping tape. I also save and use the infamous peanuts, and every kid’s favorite, bubble wrap.
    It amazes me how many businesses use one side of a sheet to print four pages. The “empties” are recycled for puzzles, coloring pictures for little folk, and print-at-home patterns. Nehmah

  22. brilliant 🙂 I have printed some off for my ugly packages I made. thanks!

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