Introduction: Free Recycled Boxes for Shipping and Packaging ANY CARRIER!

Picture of Free Recycled Boxes for Shipping and Packaging ANY CARRIER!

Free Shipping materials are DELIVERED TO YOU! ( or treehuggers you can use recycled boxes, labels & envelopes) GO GREEN!

Free materials are available ! Most are already 100% postconsumer recycled paper!

If you have a Office, you can REUSE supplies or if you go online (register) or even pass a postal facility or a Kinko's you can get used labels, boxes, envelopes and more!

YES you can simply re-use old opened shipments or boxes again sent to you! Do you buy sell or ship alot? Ebayers? Open and REUSE those boxes INVERTED!

A few Shipping companies do NOT allow you to use a competitor boxes!
You can't use highs priced "Express" packages for snail, ground or 1st class


DO you "THINK GREEN"....? Use UPS boxes for USPS or use USPS supplies for FedEx/UPS

etc...just don't have the fine print...

Anyway then follow these steps....


Step 1: Waste Not Want Not....

Picture of Waste Not Want Not....

Ok so get your used boxes (at work) or new UPS/USPS shipped to you (online/dropbox).

They do not allow anothers carrier to reuse materials for NEW ground or parcel post so to RE-USE this packaging so we take old boxes and turn them ..."inside out"....

Thus they NOW get used or 're-used', work well and are FREE. So save a few $$ and donate it to your local recycling center.

The steps herein show the techniques details.
...start with ripping the main seams open along the length...

Step 2: Get Some Reuse Boxes & Packaging!

Picture of Get Some Reuse Boxes & Packaging!

Yes, any use is better than LANDFILL....Double Re-use is even better...

Many shippers use specific packages, letters & envelopes for express/priority shipping ONLY! However we use them ONCE then throw them away. Or we can't use them AT ALL for other carriers even more economical snail mail or "ground" shipping...WHY!

Express, Overnight and Early AM packaging is exprensive and much is not recycled or reused...REUSE! INVERT!

These steps will show how to get and where to use such materials.

They'll deliver! Pickup at their office or your work location!

Go to

Visit any local post office, mailbox etc, package or UPS/FEDEX kiosk/drop box and grab pre-used boxes or any free materials. In an Office get some deliverepre-d "used" or free "office supplies"....Check out the "eBay specials" sometimes online with shippers.


Get these old, and re-used boxes and labels Turn them "inside out"

follow? Flip, tape and INVERT!

Step 3: Techniques !

Picture of Techniques !

Some examples of simple re-used boxes & packaging

Step 4: Tape & Secure

Picture of Tape & Secure

Use shipping or strong packing tape to secure boxes loose sides/ends.

Stand-up and use old package/letters/bubble packs for fill and wrapping materials.

Now lower "Carbon footprint" & low cost Ground, Parcal post or Snail mail will accept our 'recycled' and 'reused' boxes and materials...even though were using 'premium' packaging!

so don't throw them away...scavange those boxes!

use freebies!

Save the world...ship a package...twice.


WayneK3 (author)2014-11-09

Well, sounds great but when I went to turn my USPS Priority boxes inside out, The Post Office has the inside WATERMARKED with Priority Shipping ONLY!

How the heck old is this article? Anybody have a workaround for this??

TGetbay (author)WayneK32014-12-03

I have never had that problem, i always order my boxes online and none have a watermark inside. Also if you need different size boxes that you can't get online then just go outside to the back of any store and find some boxes to use.

patti.wolfe.12 (author)2014-09-14

Omg you are a genius!! Thank you. It works. I was paying 3 to 4$ for a basic box. This saves my customers on shipping costs too.

taylorlightfoot (author)2007-08-24

USPS shipping materials are provided as free because they must be shipped via priority mail and the cost of the material is factored into the priority shipping fee one pays when shipping an item. This instructable is fine if one REUSES boxes but taking new package material and turning it inside out will only create a loss for USPS and they will in turn raise their prices, AGAIN. No one wants to pay more at the post office.

How many packages do I have to mail to pay for the free boxes? If I do a few Express Boxes does that cover even more priority mail materials? If I use materials from a Post Office or Business that they delivered or dropped off...are thay paid for? If I shread them and use them to line a bird cage does this cost money. Does re-using boxes pulled from a trash or recycle bin save money and landfill or processing cost. If I PAY for shipping does this not cover the packaging as well? At what point does recycling and reuse outweigh trash, waste and excess? If I use otherwise wasted materials or re0use old shipped boxes is this "green"...?

erckgillis (author)erckgillis2007-09-01

Please.... the USPS raise postage rates .41$ for their fuel and expenses go up...I have ZERO materials of THEIRS in a 1st class letter and the cost goes up..NOT the cost of a $4.60 Priority mail. Also What if I "inverted" it & send it Express mail? 1st Class? Is that then paid for? How long can I wait to ship? 1 month, 1 year? Is'nt this advertising? The competition does this UPS, FedEx etc... If you have a choice of carriers and only one has 'free' materials...which would you use? There is no way that the use material within a timeframe to guarantee revenue to a carrier. One cannot "expect" business income from giving awaty FREE materials. This is a COST of a competitive business like giving away straws, ketchup, napkins or FREE drink must to stay competitive. VERY clearly it say it is PROHIBITED to use ANY materials for other than their intended purpose...however REUSE is a great GREEN recycling gola however carriers will NOT allow use of others materila NEW or NOT. So you must use the invert and fold to accomidate their shortcommings... ERCK

OCPik4chu (author)erckgillis2012-10-16

You can make all the justifcation you want, it doesn't change the purpose (and cost) to the carrier you are taking them from. Carriers don't offer free boxes to be competitive, they offer free boxes because they expect you to use them for the exact purpose they are printed (priority mail in USPS' case) And it is also why they wont let you use them for anything else because of it. Calling it 'shortcomings' or comparing it to ketchup packets is just your justification. Not exactly an instructable...

for every free box you take from the post office, you must use that to send something via priority mail. They are "free" because they assume you will be using them to send items via priority mail. The boxes are paid for once you use them to ship something via priority mail. if by dropped off you mean someone has sent you an item in a priority box, then yes that box has already been paid for. If you request the post office to deliver free boxes to you, then they have not been paid for until you use each one to mail something via priority mail. I have nothing against reusing USPS boxes that have already been used and shipped via priority mail once before. When someone takes free unused USPS material and then doesnt ship each box taken via priority mail; that is when USPS loses money. Remember when USPS used to give us free tape? Well they stopped doing that to regain the money lost from people taking boxes and material which they did not use to ship items via priority mail.

Did you read the article through. They are saying to use used or damaged boxes.

kisegerwa (author)2011-10-13

i would 2 get involved

d1ndian (author)2011-06-08

In Canada is u want more then 5 big/ small boxes then head to walmart and ask workers there. Walmart ships their garbage boxes (hige big small all sizes) to recycling companies. They would love to give you 10-15 very big ones or any size boxes for free. I have tired once when i needed 5 very big cardboard boxes for my school project. Oh yeah, ask your college ,university or school for cardboard boxes or even for electronics such as computer moniters, video/audio cards, cables, tips, softwares etc. They would love to help you out for free.
In school /universities/colleges they have to keep their electronics for a certain amount of time. Once that time passes they have no choice but to pay for removing these electronics, even when they are in great working condition. Also they have great working LCD , old computers , hard drives and video cards. Also they'll fix small technical stuff for you. Give it a try.

erckgillis (author)2010-08-11

Please use only recycled boxes, re-provision carrier packaging as per their guidelines, however using a box AGAIN even inside out should not violate any packaging guidelines. Just add some new tape. Now what would happen if I drop a FEDEX box at UPS or a USPS at either UPS or FEDEX? I have seen hammers and other non packaged items mailed with just a label via USPS in the past. Even a Boot with just a label affixed. ERCK

camiller (author)2008-05-20

I noticed awhile back that at least some USPS priority mail boxes had "USPS" printed on the inside as well.

erckgillis (author)camiller2010-08-11

yup or now have "fine print" on both sides... ERCK

Smurphette (author)2008-08-12

REUSE is fine, but I have to stress that ordering free boxes from USPS to invert and use at a different rate or carrier is ILLEGAL. USPS is United States Postal Service. They are a branch of the government. Steal from them and it's a federal offense. Postal Fraud is not a slap on the wrist sort of thing.

BarginsTech (author)Smurphette2009-09-14

Wow people, chill! No one but the UPS people will care if we save some cash! i re use boxes all the time. All you have to do is COVER THE LABLES! Really now! My friend's father does it all the time and runs a BUSINESS through UPS and has never heard ONE WORD about it. (No, he does not know the UPS owner. ) So if anyone REALLY cares its you people who complain.

erckgillis (author)BarginsTech2010-08-11

the fine print on some providers packages and plastic label holders say FOR USE XXXX ONLY. YMMV ERCK

trix_ska (author)Smurphette2008-08-27

Ditto. What you are doing is very illegal!

sarah92592 (author)trix_ska2010-06-10

Using used boxes...did you read the whole thing.

8bit (author)trix_ska2010-04-14

What makes you say that?

sarah92592 (author)Smurphette2010-06-10


8bit (author)Smurphette2010-04-14

I actually don't think there is any need to flip the boxes, even if reshipping in them under a different provider. Its not like they are postage paid or anything.

8bit (author)Smurphette2010-04-14

Wasn't USPS privitised almost a decade ago?

Derin (author)Smurphette2008-10-18

i think its just "reuse the boxes with stuff inside others mail"

SurferGeek (author)2008-05-13

.42 cents to mail a letter across the country. I think that's a fair price to pay. As for instructables telling you to steal from the USPS? It's abuses such as this that cause operating costs to increase and subsequent increase in fees.

erckgillis (author)SurferGeek2010-08-11

Reuse of existing packaging as appropriate has been edited or explained - Thanks ERCK

sarah92592 (author)SurferGeek2010-06-10

Please where are we being told that!

SurferGeek (author)sarah925922010-07-23

How about this part?

"If you have a Office, you can _pinch_ the competitions supplies"


"Open and REUSE those boxes INVERTED"!

Referring to opening NEW boxes from the USPS.

How about this tidbit?

"Use UPS boxes for USPS or use USPS supplies for FedEx/UPS

etc...just don't read the fine print... "

Seems pretty clear to me.

erckgillis (author)SurferGeek2008-05-18

first these are USED boxes ... Going to landfill as they CAN'T be used to ship or be reused for 1st class mail or GROUND ... So with a inside flip & Tape job you can now save some $ you treehuggers... Go forth and remain , retape & reuse

SurferGeek (author)erckgillis2008-05-18

That's funny... all the pictures you show of the boxes show NO evidence of tape or any other evidence of having been used. In fact the ones with self-sealing adhesive still have the paper on them. You're not reusing or recycling... you are repurposing... which is a misuse.

silverrage27 (author)2008-12-14

Regardless of whether the boxes in the pics are new, used or what not. The text clearly states that the boxes to use are boxes such as slightly damaged boxes that the post office is throwing away, used boxes that you receive, etc. There for all of these boxes that you will be using are paid for. Maybe I missed it but never did I see go and get the brand new boxes that haven't been paid for in some form or fashion and use those. That would be immoral.

sarah92592 (author)silverrage272010-06-10

Right...people do not read the whole thing. They just want to complain.

erckgillis (author)sarah925922010-06-12

Yes, thanks see the Title. New boxes have the seal or tape intact. used boxes can be shipped again, turned inside out and retaped. E

tonictina (author)2009-07-23

For some reason, my local post office wouldn't even allow me to use a "USED" small priority mail box (which I had inverted) to mail something first class. The inverted sides of the box did have "priority" printed on it, but I explained to him that it was a "used" box. No luck! So instead of reusing the box, I tossed it out! What a waste! The next time, I covered my old boxes with used grocery paper bags. Thankfully, that worked. Thanks for the Instructable, and I'm sure you meant to use old boxes, although your pictures show new ones.

gwrober (author)2009-05-12

I like this. We've been doing the label thing for a while, using labels that say "please recycle" or "recycle this box!". Never thought about just inverting the box!

super11 (author)2009-03-17

Buying boxes from a place that sells recycled boxes is a great idea. They’re cheaper and often you can return them to the store when you’re through and make some of your money back.

cariboo13 (author)2009-03-16

Hey, good for you! I've been doing this since my daughter moved from Canada to the USA. We can't send used boxes international so this is great. I would recommend using a good glue for the side of the box(just in case), especially if it will be a heavy parcel..

littlechef37 (author)2008-05-20

YIKES UPS AHAHAHH run from them (theres this thing in canada WE HATE UPS) - There hours are the from like 6am to 11 am and then 3 to 4 so if you work or go to school every day you have to get someone else to get your package. (where I live anyways) -Ohh and they live at the edge of town in the industrial area.... So I have to WASTE GAS going there twice because I don't know there schedule By heart(brain for that matter) -AND THEN If a package is prepaid why do I have to pay for it ? -And they were sueing the Canadian government because they cant compete.. -And I here to the south they are like pros.... -Personally I would use Puralator or Canada post.

ScottSEA (author)2008-02-14

Wow... why are you this hostile? That's got to take a lot of energy. Actually, according to your logic, YOU cannot use a box but once. When someone ships it to you, you recieved it, but you didn't use it - the shipper did. Subsequently, you turn it inside out and ship it - you've only used it ONCE. First you mock my English, now my intelligence and my Instructables. Did you see the box below when writing your comments (with a bright red border and salmon background) that says 'We have a "be nice" comment policy. Please be positive and constructive...'?

Mitten (author)2007-07-09

There are snakes in the boxes in step 3. Also, - the title doesnt tell me what it is - after reading it, I dont know what you have accomplished. - pictures of attractive deleivery women does not a good instructable make

erckgillis (author)Mitten2008-02-13

I have reduced the instructables as per your demands, please release my family... E

GorillazMiko (author)2008-02-12

You know the FedEx white cover things? Can you get those for free too?

ScottSEA (author)2008-02-10

Your comment seems like quite a wasteful strategy (recycling a box before using it at least once) - not to mention a bit bitter. This person has found a way to use a box at least twice before recycling. Remember; the mantra is "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" - in that order. Reuse it, THEN recycle it.

yourtvlies (author)2007-07-09

Hm... I'm not so convinced that having new, unused boxes really qualifies as "going green" or even recycling. This statement, of course, doesn't hold true should the boxes actually be reused, or otherwise on their way to a landfill.

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-07-09

hmm.. so basicly this just shows you how to reuse boxes??. "Hey it can also save you money i guess :-) "

Jake the Ape (author)2007-07-09

I would like to point out that this image of Samuel Jackson is from a photo-manip contest on

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