24 Apr 2012

How to Reuse all That Shredded Paper

No Comments Ethical & Eco Living

Millions of people shred bank statements and letters every day to protect their identity. This is a sensible thing to do in order to prevent crime but what do they then do with all the shredded paper? Perhaps we are shredding too much. As paper is easier to recycle when it is in one piece, we should limit our shredding to important things such as bank statements or just cut the corner off the letter which displays our names and addresses. Many people are cutting down on the amount of paper mail they receive nowadays, opting to receive their bank statement by email or simply viewing it online. This is certainly a good conscientious way to cut down on paper usage.

1. Try the pet plan
If you have pets such as guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, gerbils or hamsters you can reuse your shredded paper inside the cage as bedding. This will save you from having to visit the pet store and buy hay. It is just as effective as straw at keeping your little pets warm and comfy. Shredded paper also makes fantastic cat litter. Both of these ideas are good money savers.

2. Pad out those ebay items
If you are really in to recycling you probably regularly sell things on the internet. Shredded paper is ideal to use as protective padding when posting something out as it protects delicate items from breaking. You could store your shredded paper along with your envelopes in a box so everything is handy when you are doing your dispatches.

3. Compost solution
You could place your shredded paper in your compost receptacle as it does slowly decompose to produce compost. If you are unable to compost, you could donate your shredded paper to someone who does or give it to someone to dig into their soil. It acts as mulch and aerates the soil beautifully, as well as helping keep weeds down.

4. Gift bags
When looking for ways to save small amounts of money here and there, you could stop buying expensive tissue paper and place shredded paper inside gift bags instead. At Christmas time you could perhaps spray the shredded paper gold or silver to make it look festive. Similarly for other occasions such as St Valentines Day you could color the shredding red, or yellow at Easter time. The recipient of the gift will be quite touched that you have gone to all that effort, not realising that you are recycling and being frugal.

5. Ideal for Kindling
If you have an open fire or stove you can reuse shredded paper to make kindling. You do not need a log maker as you can stuff the insides of toilet roll tubes with the shredded paper to achieve the desired shape. It is annoying when you run out of logs so this is a great way to remedy that particular nuisance. Another great thing to make with shredded paper is scented bags. Place the shredded paper inside a square of muslin, sprinkle on essential oils of your choice and tie with a ribbon. These make brilliant gifts, home deodorizers or to donate to charities to sell. If they are for your personal use, you could add lavender and place near your pillow for a restful nights sleep, or orange oil in the bathroom to keep it smelling fresh.

6. Dog treats
Other crafting ideas involving shredded paper are to stuff old socks with them, sprinkle on two to three drops of peppermint oil and make them into chewing toys for dogs (this is a sneaky way to freshen your dogs breath). Wrap pieces of lace or other materials around the paper and sprinkle on some essential oil to make a drawer or closet air freshener. When the scent begins to fade, simply sprinkle a few more drops of oil over them to give them a new lease of life. These are perfect for any smelly areas such as a dog food cabinet, a garden shed or a shoe rack.

7. Papier Mache crafts
On rainy days and school breaks you could reuse shredded paper by mixing the paper in a bowl with flour and water and spreading the mulch onto inflated balloons to make papier mache masks. Get your kids to place the wet paper onto the balloon in several layers. Once dry, you can paint on the required design. It is ok to allow your home to become messy once in a while as it is for a good cause (protecting the environment by recycling) and the kids will have so much fun making and designing their own masks. You could make it a themed crafting day such as monsters, princesses, Disney characters or pirates. Amusing your children has never been so easy or so inexpensive.

As you can see there are many interesting things you can do to reuse shredded paper and by doing so you can actually save money as well as show your creative side. Who knew that recycling could be so enjoyable!


Grace Pamer is a thirty something mom of 3 gorgeous kids and a full time writer. She writes romance and dating tip columns for various publications.

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