What to do with used postage stamps

used postage stamps

If you write, send and receive letters, you’ll no doubt come across a fair number of postage stamps. Even if you don’t have pen pals, you’ll receive stamps — on envelopes containing Christmas cards, birthday cards, and more.

What do you usually do with your postage stamps? Many people simply bin them without giving it a second thought. However, there are actually many options available for disposing of your stamps. This blog post explains everything you need to know — explore your choices below, starting off with recycling.

Recycle your postage stamps

Postage stamps are recyclable and you don’t even need to remove them from the envelope they’re on — just throw the whole envelope in the recycling bin and you’re done!

However, this is arguably not the best way to dispose of your stamps. Below I’ll outline some other options, for those of you who feel inclined to do more with them.

Collect postage stamps

a postage stamp

If you have an interest in stamps, why no become a stamp collector? It can be great fun to learn about the stamps issued by various countries over the years.

This hobby began in 1840, as soon as the first postage stamp was issued, and continues to this day.

Of course, nowadays there are thousands of stamps to collect from all over the world.

Donate your postage stamps to charity

Many charities accept donations of used stamps.

These need to be trimmed with a 1cm border usually, and you can either drop them off in one of the charity’s shops or post them to the charity in an envelope. Some charities provide pre-paid envelopes for your stamps and some expect you to pay the postage yourself.

Below is a list of some of the UK-based charities that take stamp donations. Click through to their sites to learn about exactly how each stamp donation system works.

If you have a favourite charity that you like to support, get in touch with them and see if they take stamps, too.

vintage postage stamps

What do charities do with the stamps?

There’s an air of mystery around the reason charities collect stamps, but in summary, they sell them and make money from these sales. Charities tend to sell large batches of used postage stamps to dealers, who then sort through the batches and sell the best specimens on to collectors.

The remaining stamps from the batches usually get sold too, but for use in arts and crafts instead. Which leads me on to my next suggestion…

Create art with postage stamps

Stamps are colourful and iconic, making them ideal for use in crafts. Most countries bring out special issues which feature images from music, TV, film, books, politics, and so much more.

Why not frame some of your favourites? Or create a masterpiece using stamps to form a landscape or portrait image. The options are endless.


Have we missed out any methods of using old stamps? Let us know in the comments below!

Lucy is our lead editor and has been passionate about stationery since childhood. She has a particular fondness for rollerball and calligraphy pens and is a keen advocate of snail mail.

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  1. Pingback: Charities Around the World Would Love to Have Your Used Stamps
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