10 uses for shredded paper

With Tax Day right around the corner, you’re probably sifting through a lot of financial paperwork — or will soon. As you make room for the current tax year’s paperwork, you’re probably shredding a lot of papers from years past that are no longer relevant.

And, of course, you’ll be putting any papers containing personal information through the shredder, which means you may end up with a glut of shredded paper.

The easiest way to dispose of all that shredded paper is obvious — dump it in the recycle bin. Check with your recycler to make sure it will take shredded paper. A call to my recycler revealed that the company will take shredded paper as long as it’s not in a plastic bag. Kind of obvious and hard to imagine someone would actually stash the biodegradable shredded paper in a non-biodegradable bag but for whatever reason, they felt the need to stipulate that.

But, if you’re interested in doing your own recycling, there are alternatives to pitching shredded paper in the recycle bin.

Here are 10 uses for shredded paper:

  1. Use it to cushion and protect fragile ornaments when you pack away your holiday décor.
  2. Use it as filler in the bottom of gift baskets.
  3. Add it to your compost pile.
  4. Use it for bedding for small pets such as gerbils and hamsters.
  5. Mix it with potting soil when you pot houseplants.
  6. Use it as fire starter in your fireplace or campfire.
  7. If you’re really feeling crafty, use it to make paper maché mash. While newsprint is the most commonly used paper for making paper maché because it is more absorbant and pliable, you can experiment using other types of shredded paper.
  8. Add some to Kitty’s litter box to stretch the expensive kitty litter.
  9. If you really want to go back to basics (or do a fun project with the kids), make paper with it.
  10. Here’s our favorite: Use it as packing material when you send items through the mail. It’s a great alternative to those ever-annoying packing peanuts — and more eco-friendly. If desired, make little “pillows” to protect the box’s contents by stuffing the shredded paper into second-time-around sandwich bags (make sure they’re clean!) or plastic produce bags fastened with a twist-tie.
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