Last updated on June 4th, 2021
If you have a paper shredder at home, it can make disposing of documents easier and less time-consuming. However, if you don’t have a responsible way to recycle it, it’s going to negatively impact the environment. You’ll be surprised by just how many different ways you can make use of your shredded waste paper.
Use it as packing material
If you regularly ship items or post gifts, you could make use of your waste shredded paper by using it as packing material. Shredded paper can provide a soft padded cushion for goods to lie on, meaning they’re less likely to get damaged in transit.
It’s useful for stuffing boxes as it packs up all the extra space inside and secures your items tightly to prevent them from moving around and potentially breaking. Some people swear by this packing method and say it can work better than Styrofoam.
If you’re concerned about the ink rubbing off on your goods, you can stuff the shredded paper into zip lock bags and place the stuffed bags into the box. This will provide the same amount of protection, if not more as there are now pockets of air that act as extra padding.
Donate it to an animal shelter
Shredded paper can work great as animal bedding, especially rabbits and guinea pigs. It can be very comfortable for them and great for hiding away. However, it is important to note that some paper and ink can be toxic to certain animals, so it’s best to get some professional advice before letting animals come into contact with it.
If you don’t have any shelters near you, you can contact your local veterinarian and ask if they could make use of your shredded paper for the pets they keep overnight.
Use it as kindling
If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove at home, you can toss in your shredded waste paper and it will burn away nicely, helping to keep you warm. It’s best to avoid tossing in loose wads of shredded paper. Instead, squish a handful of shreds into a ball in your hand and position it tightly in amongst the logs. Repeat this until all of the empty space around the logs is filled.
Don’t burn glossy paper or any paper that you think could contain toxic chemicals. These fumes have the potential to be harmful.
Bulk up your kitty litter
If you have any cats at home that use an indoor litter box, you’ll know just how much the costs can add up. Litter boxes require daily scooping and weekly cleaning, which can get pretty expensive, especially if you treat your feline to luxury brands.
Although shredded paper isn’t as effective on its own as kitty litter (it can get stinky), it works great as a means of bulking up your regular kitty litter. It’s suitable for both crystal and wood pellet litter types.
More and more couples are on the hunt for eco-friendly confetti for their wedding celebrations. While you’ve probably already heard of people using leaves or even rice as wedding confetti, shredded paper is a great alternative. Not only is it easy to clean up, but it costs absolutely nothing!
If you’re concerned about the shredded paper not fitting into the color scheme of your occasion, you can color it with natural dye or food coloring and allow it to dry in direct sunlight.
If you have children, you’ll know the stress of Easter crafting— hot glue guns and glitter galore, not to mention the costs of all the supplies. Shredded waste paper works great as decor in Easter nests and bonnets. It has the perfect texture to resemble a nest or even grass. To make it look even more realistic, you can spray it down with a solution of food coloring and water. The possibilities are endless!
Make a sensory bin
Studies have shown that sensory activities are beneficial to children. They love to explore the textures and investigate the world with their hands. This method works best with ultra-fine shredded paper because it is less likely to cause paper cuts than ribbon-cut paper.
Take a cardboard box or plastic container/Rubbermaid and put in some of the ultra-fine shredded paper. Hide some toys or presents within it, or not, and let kids have fun.
Use it as stuffing
No, not in your Thanksgiving turkey. Use shredded waste paper as a cushion or pillow stuffing. To make it more comfortable, stuff the shredded paper into a plastic bag and seal it shut. These can be useful when making your own kneeling pads for gardening or prayer.
If you want your project to be 100% sustainable, you can take an old or broken canvas bag and stuff it with shredded paper to make a cushion or knee pad. They probably won’t be comfy enough to use as couch or bed pillows, but if you’re looking for some decorative cushions, this could work.
Make fire starter bricks
This method is a little tricky but can be rewarding. By using your waste shredded paper to make a pulp, you’ll be able to mold it into bricks. Simply add some of the shredded paper and water into a blender. Once it’s all mushy and pulpy, knead and shape it with your hands to make balls. Alternatively, you can prepare them in ice cube tray molds to make cute little firestarter bricks!
If this sounds too time-consuming, there’s a fast way of making a shredded paper firestarter. Take a toilet paper tube from a used roll, add some dryer lint and shredded paper, and you have a great firestarter. Free of charge.
If you have no other way of disposing of your shredded waste paper, it can work great in a compost heap. Shredded paper can be added to your compost, just be sure that it’s not the glossy kind. Wait until the soil is slightly damp and mix some shredded paper into it. Shredded paper is great for soaking up excess water in compost.