Do you lock your doors at night? You have to unless you live in a crime-free utopian universe. With the rise of identity theft these days, shredding important documents like bank statements and old bills is as important as locking doors.
Protecting your personal information is a very solid reason to buy a shredder. A shredder can also be handy in getting rid of junk mail and old newspapers that have piled up.
But what do you do with all the shredded paper? Are there uses for shredded paper? If you don't want to use your imagination and want the easy way, you could just throw it away in the recycling bin.
Or you could check out these 11 things you can do with shredded paper.
1. Into the Garden We Go, First Is Composting
To start our list of uses for shredded paper, let's go to where we can find the sources of paper, trees, and plants. You can use shredded paper to help your garden in a number of ways.
The first is to add it to your compost pile. Paper is excellent 'brown' material to add to your 'green' as compost mixture. Your worms will break it down the same way as any other garden waste.
Do not use glossy colored paper or cellophane for composting though. These may have toxic materials that can harm your soil. Old newspaper, even with all the print, is generally safe.
2. Use as Mulch
Cover your garden area with wet shredded paper. Paper is an effective mulch and organic too. This will help your soil retain moisture, improve fertility, and inhibit weeds.
You can also use shredded paper as a base layer with compost on top (or other mulches like grass).
3. Make Your Own Seed Starters
As far as uses for shredded paper go, this one is sure to delight those with green thumbs. Starting seeds doesn't have to be expensive. Save money by making your own seed molds. All you'll need is shredded paper, a blender, and water.
You can plant these seed starters directly into the soil. The molds will naturally decompose and serve as the first meal for your seedlings.
4. Make Your Own Paper
The process is the same as making the seed starters above. Again you'll need some paper, a blender, and water. Instead of shaping the pulp into cups, flatten it over a surface as thinly as possible.
You can use a hair dryer or an oven to dry it. You can also leave it in the sun for a few hours. The finished product is not going to be as smooth as commercial paper, but you can write on it.
You can also use the homemade paper for scrapbooking. Or turn them into envelopes for thank you notes or birthday cards.
5. Unleash the Artist in You
The uses for shredded paper extends to the world of art. Shape, decorate, sculpt, there are lots of things that you can do. You are only limited by your imagination.
Draw and paint on the paper you created from shreddings using the method above. If you add flour to the pulp mixture, you can make papier mache. This is more sturdy than the seed molds and you can shape it into bowls, animal figures, and other works of art.
You don't even have to do anything to the shreddings to start creating art pieces. If you have colorful shredded paper, you can make a collage or a mosaic. You can also use it as confetti for a party.
6. Combine with Essential Oils
If you are not artistically inclined and looking for a gift idea from shredded paper, make a sachet. Scent some shredded paper with sweet smelling essential oils such as lavender, lemon, or jasmine. Then put the paper in a nice little pouch and you have a sachet.
You can hang the sachet by your bedside to freshen up the room. You can also put it in a drawer to get rid of the musty smell.
Some essential oils such as peppermint, rosemary, and clove are natural insect repellents. Keep off those pesky mosquitoes. You can also spray the oils on shredded paper mulch to get rid of garden pests.
7. Use as Bedding
If you have a pet hamster, he will love his shredded paper bedding. Another good thing about the bedding is that after he has soiled it, you can add it to the compost bin. That's a two for one use for shredded paper.
If you don't have pets, you can donate the paper shreddings to veterinary clinics or animal shelters. They will appreciate the paper for use as animal beddings.
The beddings aren't just for live animals. You can line baskets with colorful shredded paper for your Easter eggs. The kids will love it.
8. Use as Filler for Sensory Bins
Speaking of kids, they will enjoy the activity of rummaging through sensory bins. Sensory bins are great tools to teach kids about objects and senses. Sensory play helps a child be more focused, engaged, and calm, especially those suffering from Sensory Process Disorder.
9. Kitty Litter, to Use or Not to Use
If you have a cat, then you have probably tried using old newspaper shreddings as kitty litter. And your cat hated it. Plus it didn't really work on getting rid of the smell. So you switched back to store bought litter.
If you want an effective and inexpensive kitty litter from shredded paper, try this recipe. The process is rather involved and will take from 30 to 45 minutes. You will need dish soap, water, and baking soda to make a two to three week supply of kitty litter.
10. Start a Fire
Combine shredded paper with egg cartons and wax to make a firestarter. Then after you started the fire, keep it going with shredded paper wood stove kindling. If you have a brick maker, you can even turn the paper into bricks to fuel your stove.
11. Uses for Shredded Paper, Packing and Stuffing
Shredded paper makes for excellent packing material. It is soft and absorbs moisture. It is also more eco-friendly than styrofoam peanuts.
You can also stuff paper into pillows or the scarecrow in your garden.
Do you have a creative use for shredded paper that is not on this list? Write a comment below.