Are you among the multitude of people who feel a searing sense of guilt as you toss stacks of flyers, scrap paper, and junk mail into the green bin? All perfectly good paper, hardly even used. We know that recycling is a good thing, but it still uses a large amount of energy, and creates waste and emissions. If you’re searching for a better solution, we can help.
Oh, it’s an obvious one, we know, but it’s surprising how many people don’t think to print on the back of scrap computer paper. You don’t need crisp, immaculate sheets to print coupons, directions or shopping lists, so give the paper you would otherwise bin a second chance at being useful. To make things easier, keep a tray of scrap paper next to the printer for easy access.
Newspapers and junk mail makes the perfect lining for a bird cage, and shredded up they’re great for small animal bedding too. One word of warning: do check that any paper you use has been printed using non-toxic ink (brown paper bags and black and white newspaper tend to be fine).
Why not tear your used computer paper, rip it into quarters and stack it by the phone? Using it to doodle is the perfect antidote for boredom when you’ve been placed on hold, and you can jot down messages too.
Why not have a go at the ancient art of origami? Use wrapping paper, greetings cards, the comic section of the newspaper and even colourful junk mail to make brightly coloured designs. Choose from jewellery boxes, paper cranes and cat bookmarks – the possibilities are endless.
Light a Fire
Brown paper bags, packing paper and newspapers can all be stored by the fireplace and used as tinder, provided you check that the ink is non-toxic.
If you have any children’s (or adult’s) parties coming up, make a piñata from your scrap paper. Kids will love beating it into submission and then gathering up the goodies, keeping them occupied for hours. Check out this easy video tutorial to learn how to make your masterpiece.
Why not reuse comics, sheet music or even plain brown packing paper to wrap your gifts? Smarten them up with some pretty gift tags made from scrap paper and leftover ribbons.
Non-toxic paper makes excellent mulch for the plants in your garden, so tear some newspaper into strips and place a layer of it around them. This will help the soil to stay moist and deter weeds, and once it begins to breakdown it will enrich the earth. If you’re worried about it looking unsightly, then simply cover the paper with a layer of bark chips.
Newspaper can also be an integral part of a well-balanced compost pile, as it’s carbon rich and so counts as a brown component. If you tear the newspaper into strips, this will help it to breakdown faster.
Stiff cardstock, like the back of greeting cards, can be cut into simple paper dolls which will keep the kiddies entertained for hours. Use colourful wrapping paper or leftover computer paper to fashion an entire wardrobe for your children’s eco-friendly toy. If you’re not particularly artistic, find an easy template online to copy from.
We understand that some paper, like confidential documents, can’t be reused, in which case we urge you to use a reputable recycling company like Lombard Recycling to dispose of it – but most can. You can also help the environment by reducing the amount of paper that passes through your letterbox, by opting out of junk mail and going paperless for bills. If you subscribe to magazines, you can offer them to friends before you throw them away. Make sure, too, that you donate or sell used books. There is no need to throw perfectly good paper into the bin. We already have enough paper clogging up our landfills and enough trees cut down to make more – do the right thing and reuse and recycle the paper you have.