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Recycle shredded paper

By on November 6, 2009

shredded paper

photo by iowa spirit walker

Paper is often wasted. Maybe you use both sides of a sheet of paper, use the backs of your mail envelopes for grocery lists or reuse newspaper to wrap gifts. All are good ways to waste less paper. Many households put their mail and paper through a shredder to protect against identity theft or to follow state and federal laws. An average home can accumulate quite a bit. In some areas, it’s not accepted in curbside recycling. So what do you do with the shredded paper?
Here are a few suggestions.

COMPOST: Avoid glossy paper, but the rest can be mixed into your compost pile and used in your garden. Birds will use some for building their nests, too. One reader, Meg in Missouri, shares: “I use it for bedding in my worm composter. I put it in the compost pile. And my husband brings home HUGE bags of shredded checks from work. I mulch my tomatoes, and it works great.”

PETS: You can use it as kitty litter (especially helpful after your kitty has any type of surgery). You can simply add the shredded paper into the litter box or make litter that’s more like pebbles by soaking the shredded paper in warm water with a couple of squirts of dish soap, sprinkling in some baking soda, squeezing out the water and crumbling onto a screen to dry. Visit for complete instructions. It seems like a lot of work, but it takes only about 45 minutes for two to three weeks worth of litter. You can use shredded paper for hamster or guinea-pig bedding, nesting material for hens or in a whelping box for dogs. Use it to stuff a pillow to make a pet bed. Call your local pet-rescue center/humane society and see if they want any for their animals, too.

KINDLING: Use some to help build your fire. You can add it to your fireplace loose, or stuff some shredded paper into a cardboard toilet-paper tube. Or make shredded newspaper logs. Visit for instructions.

GIFTS: Use it to line gift baskets, boxes and bags. It gives your gifts a unique, artisanal touch. And Easter grass is one of those materials that should go the way of the dodo.

PACKAGING: No need for bubble wrap or foam peanuts. Use it when packing and shipping packages. Or when moving or packing breakable holiday decorations.

CRAFTS: Use it for papier-mache projects, or make your own handmade paper. Visit for a tutorial.

PLANTS: Use it to line planters or to store flower bulbs.

PLAY: Kids love to play with shredded paper. You can create a guessing game by placing small items hidden in a pillowcase of shredded paper. Children can guess what the item is by touch. And let’s face it, kids will want to simply play with it. Make your own sensory tub. Put it in a big box, plastic container or bowl, and kids will love scooping and grabbing it. Hide small toys or items in the paper, and give the kids tongs or spoons to fish out the treasures.

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