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3 Simple Uses for Old Papers

My family's gotten into the recycling routine at home- we recycle paper, plastic, cans, plastic bags, and yard trimmings.  It's hardly a feat to be proud of because it's so easy- our city's recycling service picks up all of these materials from our curb each week, with minimal sorting required of us.  Reusing materials (the more environmentally friendly alternative, since it avoids the energy consumption involved in recycling) has not been our strength, and I'm trying to work on that.  Reusing obviously takes a little more effort and creativity that simply tossing an empty soda can into a recycling bin.  Here are three simple ways to reuse old paper such as old bills, draft documents we don't need anymore, and credit card offer letters:

  1. Drawing Paper.  Kids are prolific artists- old paper is an endless source of fresh "canvas" for them.  One-sided paper works best for drawing, but even paper already used on both sides is enticing to children, as the paper looks like the "important" bills and letters they see adults handling- and we all know how kids love using "important" and "adult" stuff.  (Tip: Designate a low shelf for stashing all papers that can be reused.  That way kids have easy access to it and you aren't cluttering up your desk with discarded paper.)
  2. Note Pads.  When you've got a pile of at least 20 one-sided papers accumulated hold them together in a tidy stack and use scissors to cut the papers in half and then in half again.  Staple each stack in one corner.  Voila! Four 4 inch by 5 inch note pads that you can use for grocery lists, to do lists, drawing pads, etc.
  3. Fodder for Compost.  We use a worm farm to compost.  We shred unneeded old paper and add it to the composter as needed to soak up excess moisture.

How do you reuse old paper?

The Daily Citron is a blog containing tips for frugal living, money management practices, ideas for living "green," thoughts on parenting, and recipes that tie it all together.