Unlike money, paper does (sort of) grow on trees, which is why it’s important to be mindful of how much you use―and waste. Check out these 10 budget- and earth-friendly tips for recycling paper:
- Print again. Reuse printer paper if it has text on only one side. It’s perfect for faxes and casual print-outs.
- Take note. Make a notepad by stapling used printer paper, blank side up, to a piece of cardboard.
- Let them scribble. Printer paper is great for kids to draw and paint on, and is often more cost-effective than paper made specifically for artistic pursuits.
- Make art. Set aside an afternoon to create with your kids. The creative options are endless. Get inspired to make your own at Howstuffworks.com. Papier mâché, for example, simply uses strips of computer or newspaper to yield beautiful creations ready to paint. Get instructions at Ehow.com.
- Cushion your packages. Newspaper or old wrapping paper can be used as package padding―shred, crumple or tear and eliminate the need for Styrofoam!
- Make cat litter. Turn newspaper into odor-deterring kitty litter. It only takes a few simple steps―shred, soak in dish detergent and baking soda, and dry. Learn how at Planet Green.
- Wrap it in your own style. Tape together sheets of unwanted paper, decorate and…instant customized wrapping paper! This is a great way to recycle children’s leftover artwork that doesn’t make the “keeper” pile.
- Stuff it. Shred old paper to use as fill for stuffed animals or throw pillows. You can use any type of paper. It’s cheaper than buying synthetic padding and works just as well.
- Create your own. Never buy fancy stationery again! Making your own gorgeous textured paper is much easier than you might think. All you need is pantyhose, bendable wire (a coat hanger, for example) and a blender. Follow the instructions at Ehow.com.
- Recycle it. If you’ve absolutely run out of creative reuses for your scrap paper, you still shouldn't throw any out. Paper bags, newspapers, computer paper, magazines, packaging and envelopes (minus the plastic pieces) can all be recycled. The only recycling no-nos are waxed paper, laminated paper (like that in fast-food products), pet-food bags and oil- or food-soaked paper. Check with your local sanitation department for restrictions in your area.