Wondering what to do with shredded paper? That’s a great question, and knowing the answers helps to promote a “waste not, want not” attitude that goes a long way toward a healthier environment.
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The most obvious way to recycle shredded paper is by throwing it in the recycling bin and leaving your local recycling facility to take care of it. However, with these ideas, you’ll discover more innovative uses for recycling, upcycling, and reusing shredded paper for more value.
Enrich Your Garden
It’s much better for shredded paper to end up in your compost pile than in a landfill, where it ruins the environment. The carbon-rich paper helps produce a healthy compost that balances soil density and helps plants thrive. You can also rely on shredded paper to protect and nurture your plants.
For example, you can cover newly planted plants with small bits of paper to create a protective barrier that improves moisture retention (who needs mulch?). Or you can make shredded paper seed starters to sprout new plants for your garden. Remember to only use plain, compostable paper that doesn’t contain toxic colors, ink, or glossy material.
Pack It or Stuff It
Shredded packing paper is more eco-friendly than bubble wrap or Styrofoam packaging. Many people invest in cheap shredded paper when planning a move or when packing away delicate items, such as ornaments and holiday glassware.
Since shredded paper is light, fluffy, and voluminous, it’s also an excellent stuffing material. You can stuff it in vases, decorative pillows, dolls, kneeling pads, scarecrows, gift bags, and Easter baskets (in place of fake grass).
Get Artsy and Crafty
Shredded paper recycling can be fun, especially if you have young ones at home. Here’s a list of creative and enjoyable ideas for using shredded paper at home for both kids and adults.
- Recycle the paper. Can you recycle shredded paper? Yes, you can, even without the help of your local recycling center. The easiest way to make homemade paper from shredded paper is to get an affordable papermaking kit.
- Use it for home improvements. For example, you can add scented shredded paper in a pouch to create a sachet and tuck it away to make your home smell nice. Or you can use it to create unique ornaments, wall art, and artificial floral arrangements to add decorative flair to your space.
- Use it for arts and crafts projects. Encourage kids to get more creative with paper mâché projects using shredded paper. You can also help them create paper bouquets and eco-friendly confetti or add shredded paper sensory bins, which help support children’s development.
Enjoy a Roaring Fire
Shredded paper comes in handy when you need to start a fire. A neat and quick trick is to stuff toilet paper rolls with the paper to make fire starters or kindling sticks. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, you can bunch the shredded paper and mold it into bricks. These can easily be stacked, ready to feed the fire, and help you save on fuel.
Gift It To Your Pets
Shredded paper can be a gift that keeps on giving to your pets. Add it to nesting boxes, hutches, and litter boxes for your birds, chickens, mice, rats, hamsters, cats, rabbits, or guinea pigs.
It works well as pet bedding and insulation while helping to absorb odors and moisture. The best thing about using shredded paper in this way is that it’s easy to clean up, and you can still get more use out of it by adding it to your compost afterward.
Remember that while shredded paper is still recyclable, the process is more complicated than using whole pieces of paper. So, use these unique ideas to unlock more value from shredded paper instead of relegating it to your curbside collection.