Paper is one of the best items to recycle, whether it’s newspapers, magazines, or brown paper bags. However, one type of paper that isn’t welcome at recycling facilities is shredded paper.
Not all curbside recycling programs take shredded paper, particularly those that have single-stream recycling. The shreds can clog up the machinery that separates the recyclables. They are also quite challenging to separate from all the other materials and present a potential fire hazard. That is why your best bet would be to seek help from a professional shredding company, especially if you own a business and have a lot of paper to shred.
But, that is where a problem lies, as shredding documents with personal information is an essential step in securing your identity. If you own a business, it is even more imperative that you shred these types of documents, not only to keep your business safe but your clients as well. However, all that shredded paper can add up quickly. Make your shredded paper work for you! Here are some creative uses for your shredded paper.
Use it as packaging material
When transporting fragile items in boxes or containers, you will want to use packaging material. Shredded paper can act as a cushion for your fragile items. Bubble wrap and packing peanuts are awful for the environment, so using paper shreds is an environmentally-safe way to help protect your items during transport.
Instead of tossing papers in the trash, shred them to create protective packing material for your fragile pieces.
Use it for your pets
Shredded paper is useful as an alternative nesting box filling for your home animals. Since shredded documents are soft, retaining heat and absorbent, they can be an excellent alternative to hays or other materials.
With shredded paper, you can save money because you don’t need to buy nesting materials sold in the store. In addition to that, you don’t have to worry about tossing it away after it gets dirty because it is naturally degradable.
You can also use it as the base of the cat’s litterbox. With shredded paper, the litter will clump, and it would make it much easier to clean the box. You will find it easier to deodorize it, as well, because the shredded paper will absorb almost all the moisture.
If you don’t have any pets, you can also give the paper to animal shelters or veterinarians that accept it. Almost every animal cage needs soft bedding, and shredded paper is nearly the perfect material for it. Just keep in mind that some paper and ink materials can be toxic to some animals.
Composting shredded paper
Composting is the most environmentally friendly solution for dealing with shredded paper. Consider it “brown” waste and put an appropriate amount into your heap, then let the microorganisms and worms in the soil do the recycling.
Paper shreds contain carbon, which helps plants grow better by adding nutrients to the soil. All you have to do is put the paper shreds into a compost bin along with other food waste so they can break down. Try to balance twenty-five parts paper to one part vegetable and food waste so that the compost has a high carbon to nitrogen ratio. Also, don’t use glossy or coloured shredded paper since it may contain chemicals that negatively affect the soil’s balance.
Don’t worry if small amounts of glossy paper or cellophane from envelope windows end up in your compost heap because you can pull them out later when you go through the composted soil.
Shredded paper as mulch
Wet shredded paper is ideal for mulching – spread it around the bottom of your plants, and it will help deter weeds, as it starves them of sunlight and nutrition.
While most people don’t think of shredded paper as an option for mulch, it is a very economical and eco-friendly alternative. Using shredded paper as mulch has many benefits, including reducing weed seed germination and growth, conserving water by slowing surface evaporation, and regulating soil temperature.
If you don’t have a yard and do apartment composting, you can put shredded paper in your small bin with the vegetables. Once again, remember to leave out glossy papers and full-colour ads – they tend not to break down as well.
A crafty use for shredded paper is to make paper mâché. If you have kids, no doubt they’ll encounter an assignment or two down the road that requires this kind of technique.
What you want to do is soak your shredded paper in water. Next, blend it with a hand blender. Finally, squeeze the water out and add equal parts flour to your shredded paper. You will end up with a tub of homemade papier mache paste.
Working with this substance can be messy, but it’s also a whole lot of fun. You can even use this technique to make biodegradable seedling pots.
Siple fire starters
You can also stuff shredded paper into a toilet paper tube from a used roll (along with highly flammable dryer lint, if you have some on hand), and you have a fire starter.
This is great for getting a fireplace going at home or outdoors on camping trips. It also works in backyard fire pits.
You can even turn your shredded paper into handy fire logs with just some water, a little effort, and some time. Once they are ready to go, you can enjoy a relaxing evening sitting by the fire.
Use it as stuffing
You can stuff all sorts of things with shredded paper, such as homemade dolls and soft decorations.
It may not be that comfortable for a pillow you plan to rest on. But for decorative pillows that are just for show? Shredded paper is much cheaper than buying batting.
Another cheap and effective idea is using shredded paper to stuff a homemade fabric bag instead of buying a premade bean bag. You can even contour the chair in certain sections.