By Kim Robson:
Naturally, we’ve all gotten used to the idea of recycling paper products. Recycling bins, especially for paper, are everywhere now. Even my grocery store clerks have separate bins for trash and paper, so I can toss my grocery list without guilt. But before you recycle that paper or cardboard, let’s give some thought to how we might repurpose it first.
Ready to kill your lawn and grow an edible garden? This is the time of year to start. Lay down layers of cardboard and newspaper over the grass and cover with four to six inches of dirt over winter. By spring, the cardboard and turf will have decomposed into nice compost.
Cardboard boxes are limited only by the imagination. You might see a box; but I might see a child’s fortress or castle, a cat’s hideout and ambush station, a pet playhouse, a winter cardboard sled derby entrant, skyscrapers for little Godzillas to knock down, or silly costumes. On a rainy day get out some boxes, craft paint and glue!
Got an oil leak? Slide a flattened cardboard box under the engine to catch drips.
Wine crates or canning jar box bottoms with dividers are great for protecting Christmas ornaments.
Cardboard egg cartons, upright toilet paper rolls, and layers of newspaper all make excellent seed starter cups.
Junk mail is great for lining bird cages, and shredded brown paper bags and newspaper make excellent pet bedding. You can also reduce the amount of junk mail you receive by opting out.
Save old newspaper to start fires, to use as a drop cloth for painting and crafts, or to add to your compost pile. Shipping breakables? Use wadded up newspaper for packing material. Make your windows sparkling clean with wadded up newspaper (or pages from old phone books) plus vinegar.
Cut used printer paper into quarters and keep a stack handy by the phone for jotting notes.
Toilet paper rolls are perfect for corralling computer and kitchen appliance cords. Cut a slit down one side and use as a sleeve to keep wrapping paper from unrolling. Set rolls upright in a box to sort cords, or organize a junk drawer full of random cords by writing directly on the roll to label for future reference. For Halloween next year, save paper towel rolls and cut scary eyes in them. Put a glow stick inside and place around your garden for spooky glowing eyes. Use them to store your Christmas lights in untangled splendor.
Got some old books? Cut the spines off to make charming book marks for your friends. Or use an X-Acto knife to cut out the inner pages to create a hidden book safe! Cut off the sides of a hardcover book to make a Kindle or tablet cover.
Cut the fronts off Christmas cards to use for next year’s gift tags, or mail them to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, where kids make them into new cards that help support the charity.
Used wrapping paper is fun for covering textbooks, cut it into strips to make bows, or to make paper chains. It’s also perfect for making festive party hats! Cover old shoeboxes to make stylish organization boxes for your home office.
Cut out images from last year’s calendar for quick and easy framable pictures.
How about you? How do you reuse paper and cardboard at home or in the office? Let us know in the comments!