Monday, April 28, 2014

Shredability: 20 Uses of Shredded Paper

by Nancy Turnage, VRPS Central Office

Spring cleaning can mean for lots of paper shredding.  And the shredding, coinciding with the Earth Day/Arbor Day time of year, can lead to thoughts of reusing, repurposing, recycling, and reclaiming.  Enjoy these ideas for the by-products of your office shredfest:

#1 Fertilizer:  thin layers of paper can help act as fertilizer as they decompose or to protect seeds from hungry birds.  Just be sure not to shred coated (glossy) papers or those envelopes with cellophane windows.  Those aren't biodegradable.

#2 Pet Bed:  Sew up an old t-shirt, fill it with shredding, and make a comfy doggie bed.

#3 Packing Material:  use as padding as opposed to styrofoam peanuts and the like.
#4 Mulch:  use to provide weed control and to keep plants moist.  Lay down the shredded paper as you would any mulching material on the soil in garden beds.  Use a hose to wet it down and prevent flyaway. Mixing shredded paper with grass seeds also helps keep the seeds damp to create faster germination when reseeding bare spots.  Soil microorganisms will "eat" the paper the same way they would in a compost heap.

#5 Worm Bin:  some green gardeners have a worm bin in addition to a compost bin in their backyards. Worms produce a lot of nitrogen, which can cause a strong odor. Adding shredded paper, which is high in carbon, will neutralize the odor.
#6 Animal Bedding:  use in the bottom of cages and pens; the occupants will use it for nesting material, and the paper will help absorb animal waste for easier cage cleaning.

#7 Fire Fuel:  use with kindling to start a fire in a wood-burning stove or outdoor fire pit.  Some people like to wet the paper and then make molds of "bricks" or "pucks" that can be used more easily once dried.

#8 Potting soil:  mix paper into potting soil to help the soil retain moisture. As the paper breaks down, it serves as a nutrition source for the plant.

#9 Sachet Filler: scent it with essential oil.

#10 Kitty Litter Extender:  pad the litter box with shredded paper before putting the crystals on top.  The crystals still do their work, but you need fewer of them.

#11 Handmade Paper Starter:  
buy a simple paper-making kit; the results are often beautiful - homemade sheets of paper great for correspondence, scrapbooks, gift tags, etc.  

#12 Papier Mache Starter:  add flour and water (equal parts) and you’ve got papier mache for art projects.

#13 Scarecrow/Costume-stuffing:  instead of straw.
#14 Easter Basket Grass and Other Decor:  if some shredded paper winds up on the lawn, no problem.

#15 Newly Sown Seed Protection:  cover newbies with a small amount to keep birds at bay.

#16 Storage:  apples, potatoes, onions, and other crops.

#17 Insulation:  once treated, use between shed walls.

#18 Absorb Moisture & Prevent Leaking:  throw a little shredded paper in the bottom of a new trash bag.

#19 Help Drainage and Reduce Potting Soil Required:  use in the bottom of potted plants.

#20 Create Seed Starters:

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1 comment:

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