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Amsterdam Handmade

How to reuse packaging?

How to reuse packaging?

The new buzz word ‘up-cycling’ has changed the way I look at products and packaging. 

To up-cycle, you are giving something that no longer has a purpose a ‘second life’ and a brand new function. It’s a creative and fun way of looking at items you were about to throw out, and see if you can reuse or repurpose the piece in any way. I’ve adopted this specifically in my personal and business life, with all packaging that goes in and out of my studio and home. 

As a small business owner and consumer, I noticed that many gift packs and products I was purchasing included a lot of packaging; so much plastic and too many packaging pieces to hold products in place. In the end, I was throwing my packaging into the recycling and I would never see it again. 

With companies consistently looking to reduce their packaging waste and provide recycle and up-cycle packaging materials, the future looks brighter! But there are many ways we can up-cycle all the packaging we receive. Here’s our favourite tips: 


Cover books. 

Turn your packaging tissue paper or colourful mailer bags (the recyclable bags you receive your order in) into the cover of your new diary or workbook. It’ll help protect the book from being damaged and add a pop of colour to your new workbook. 

Create a recycling container.

Gather your recycling paper and cardboard for that week in a shipping box or mailer bag. Once it’s full, toss the entire collection into your local recycling bin.  

Get creative. 

There are so many art and craft activities you can do with your tissue paper, shipping box or mailer bags; colouring in, creating party hats, cardboard houses. The list is never ending. This is a great option when you have kids! 

Prevent garden weeds. 

If you have a garden patch, you can reuse your tissue paper or packaging paper as weed prevention. Line the soil with your paper packaging to prevent the weeds from breaking through and causing havoc to your beautiful garden. Once you’ve lined the soil, cover it with compost or mulch. It adds an extra layer of weed prevent for your plants, 

Creative gift tags. 

With Christmas around the corner, you can turn your mailer bags and tissue paper into holiday gift tags or use as wrapping paper. If the paper isn’t the design you like, add a splash of paint or drawings to make the wrapping paper more personal. 

Storage divider. 

Turn your product boxes into trays or box storage dividers. Fill your boxes with socks, jewellery, sunglasses or scrunchies. So many items will benefit from this drawer storage transformation. 

Hello plant parent! 

Add some soil into your product box or old candle jars to plant your favourite seedlings or plant cut offs. We recommend growing small herbs and windowsill plants that don’t need too much soil. You can use these new pots for seedlings and when the plant is ready transfer to a larger pot. 

Large storage box. 

All cardboard boxes can easily be used as storage. 

Fill them with kids toys, creative art materials, make a first aid kit or sewing box to name a few. You can also paint them or cover them with colourful tissue paper, if you want to add a pop of colour. 


Use paper and cardboard to start a fire, without having to purchase new resources 


By up-cycling the packaging you receive, you can give the material a second life and function before recycling it. Why purchase new materials, when you can get creative and reuse what you currently have!