Don't recycle paper........

until you've gotten every possible use out of it.

According to the Bureau of International Recycling, paper can only be recycled 4 to 6 times. That really isn't very many. So instead of dropping it in the recycling bin as soon as you are finished with a piece, reuse it.

Ways to make paper more useful, or less used:

  1. Print on both sides to begin with. PC's, and probably Macs, allow every other page of a word processing document to be printed, for instance, you could print only the odd numbered pages. After the first set of pages are printed turn the paper over and print the second set of pages. I usually put a mark in one corner of the top piece of paper in my printer, so that I can figure out which way the paper needs to be oriented to print correctly on the second side.
  2. Use paper that has already been printed on as drawing paper for yourself or the kids. Chances are your doodles will not be the next Picasso.
  3. Reprint on paper that has only been used on one side. The backs of the paper won't make any sense, but the fronts will look fine. Just remember to re-orientate your paper again, so the blank side is being printed on.
  4. Make a avant guard used paper note book. Cut paper that was used on one side into 4 equal pieces. Cut one piece of thicker paper in 4 equal pieces. Arrange the paper so that the blank sides are all facing up. Poke two or more holes in the left side of all the pieces. Stack the pieces with the thicker paper on the outsides, and tie ribbon through the holes.
  5. Throughly used paper is an excellent biodegradable weed blocker. Just stack several thicknesses of paper, overlapping edges, on level, weed free dirt. Put several inches of dirt and compost on top of the paper, and plant. Week new weeds can't come up through the paper, but the roots of your seedlings will be able to penetrate the paper as it biodegrades.
  6. Shredded paper can be used in addition to leaves and other brown matter in compost.
  7. As business cards. Crafting a Green World has a great tutorial on making business cards/seed packets out of used paper grocery bags.
  8. Shredded paper also makes great confetti!

There are so many more uses for used paper it would be impossible to list them all. I would love to see some of your ideas as well.

Note: Protect sensitive information! Papers with personal information can be used against you. It is best to shred all sensitive information.
Lest you think I have forsaken fiber, I have some fibery goodness to come.