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Ways to Recycle or Reuse Paper

I love to share employment ideas from around the web for people out there who like working from home as much as I do!

More Than 20 Ways to Recycle or Reuse Paper at Home

Paper piles up fast in most homes. Mail, school papers, and newspapers are just a few types of paper that stream in daily. According to "Recycled Crafts Box," by Laura C. Martin, the average American consumes a whopping 750 pounds of paper each year! That's a lot of paper.

Paper has been around for thousands of years. When exposed to the environment, paper will eventually break down and decompose, so it doesn't present a landfill problem like plastic. However, you can reduce your consumption of paper by getting rid of unwanted junk mail. Eco* can help you eliminate junk mail and stop solicitations.

Some paper is unavoidable. Here's a fact to motivate us to recycle: It takes much LESS fuel to make new paper from old paper than it does to produce new paper from raw materials. Save the trees and reduce fuel consumption by recycling.

But before you carry your paper to the recycle center, is there a way to reuse it? Get the most out of the paper you already have by trying the practical and crafty ideas below to reuse it before you recycle it.

Reuse Paper before Recycling

Ways to Reuse Paper

Paper can quickly fill a recycle bin, how about trying these things to reuse paper before recycling it.

1. Shred it and use it for packing material.

2. Reuse the blank side of paper to make lists, print things on the printer, or let the kids color.

3. Compost it

4. Use it as kindling for a fire.

When using the first two reuse ideas above, go ahead and recycle the paper when you are finished reusing it. The last two ideas eliminate the need for recycling the paper.

A great craft project for young children is to recycle your own paper at home. You can puree used paper and water in a blender and dry it on a screen to make your own recycled craft paper. It makes a thick sturdy paper perfect for special notes or invitations. Add food coloring to create colored paper. Detailed instructions on how to do this yourself are below.

How to Recycle Paper at Home

Reuse Paper as Beads


If you have a scrap booking tool that cuts paper shapes, you can reuse paper to create these cool beads. The author of this tutorial, uses the pages of old books, but any paper can be used including colored paper. A string of them would make a very interesting way to decorate a girls room, or any other room you had in mind.

Reuse Paper as Beads

Paper Trash Can - Another Way to Reuse Paper


Lovething posted this amazing idea for a reused paper trash can on the Craftster forum. It is simply genius. The small paper strips are rolled and glued. Then they are stacked together to form this trash can. As she states in her forum post there are so many other possibilities. Magazine pages were used in the photo. Since I prefer an earthy look, I would use brown paper, such as paper grocery sacks.

How to Make a Garbage Can from Reused Paper

Reuse Paper to Make Bracelets

This tutorial reminds us that any paper (from white paper to brown bag paper) can be jazzed up using computer art. To make a bracelet from computer printed art, cut it out and cover it with packing tape. Add some Velcro for a stylish homemade bracelet. Young girls may have fun personalizing them with names and exchanging them with their friends.

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Reuse Paper as a Bracelet

Altered Book Safe

Mysterious Way to Reuse Paper as a Recycled Craft Safe

An idea perfect for any mystery lover. A hardback book that can no longer be read, can be repurposed into a book safe. It makes a perfect gift for a child who loves hidden treasure. A very sharp knife and a hot glue gun is required to complete this project.

Altered Book Safe to Reuse an Old Paper Book

Paper Mache - Crafty Way to Reuse Paper


Paper Mache Fish

Paper mache is a great way to create an artistic figurine or a pinata for a party. Paper mache usually starts with a frame for the paper. The frame can be made of wire, such as a coat hanger, balloons, or any lightweight material that will hold the paper in place. Use various materials to construct the frame in the shape you want. It can be the shape of a fish, cartoon character, bicycle, ball, or anything else your heart desires.

Once the frame is in place, paper is dipped in a flour and water mixture that acts as glue. Use the flour glue to add many layers of paper over the frame. After it is covered, allow it to dry. Once dry, you can paint the paper mache art. More detailed instructions are below:

How to Make a Paper Mache Fish

Reuse Paper - Recycle Bag from News Paper

Recycle Paper at Home

Another variation to the homemade paper above, is to use only one color of colored paper. (If you use more than one color the overall outcome will be gray.) Alternatively, you can use white paper and add food coloring to the mix. Make the paper as explained above, accept when you are spreading it out to dry, place it inside a form to shape it, such as a cookie cutter.

How to Make Recycled Paper Note Cards

Make a Weaving by Reusing a Paper Card

If you have a special card that you don't want to throw away, this is another great way to craft with it and keep it around. This is a weaving craft and ideal for young children, curtosy of

Weave a Card

Reuse Magazine Pages to Make a Magazine Holder!

Reuse Magazine Pages to Make a Magazine Holder!

Reuse Magazine Pages to Make a Magazine Holder!

Paper beads are a fun way to reuse junk mail. The beads can be worn as bracelets and necklaces, or used to decorate key chains and backpacks. How many ways can you come up with to use these cute beads?

Paper Beads from Old Magazines

More Resources for Reusing Paper from Amazon

More Ways to Reuse Paper

What do you do with your paper?

Wrapping Paper

© 2010 hsschulte

Questions and Comments About Reusing Paper - Leave them here!

Susan Caplan McCarthy from Massachusetts, USA on March 09, 2014:

Fantastic craft ideas. Love the "trash" trash can and the magazine magazine holder.

Susan Caplan McCarthy from Massachusetts, USA on March 09, 2014:

Fantastic craft ideas. Love the "trash" trash can and the magazine magazine holder.

Ibexing on March 19, 2013:

I love some of your ideas for reusing paper. my favorite is the waste paper bin...

laurenrich on March 09, 2013:

Excellent lens. I love the trash cans. Great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

HughLasso on February 18, 2013:

Very cool ideas! We need more recyclers in the world

JeremyRustling on January 31, 2013:

@TarahFlesch: Agreed!

TarahFlesch on January 04, 2013:

Cool ideas! :)

anonymous on November 24, 2012:

bad guy

anonymous on November 24, 2012:

i did not know that there many ways in reusing, recyling the paper into many awesome things such as bracelets, basket etc

anonymous on November 12, 2012:

i want to make the recycled garbage can

Rose Jones on August 28, 2012:

Excellent lens - this is all good, and I spent too much time here. :) blessed.........

anonymous on August 01, 2012:

So good n 3-4 Rs classfy it stait for waste management strategies.

Bob Zau on June 19, 2012:

Awesome lens. I recycle everything I can.

LovelyMom77 on June 16, 2012:

I did not realize there were so many different ways to recycle paper. I love the waste basket idea!

LovelyMom77 on June 16, 2012:

I did not realize there were so many different ways to recycle paper. I love the wastebasket idea!

EcoLogik on June 14, 2012:

Great ideas on recycling paper. Nice lens!

Monica Lobenstein from Western Wisconsin on June 06, 2012:

I can't wait to try some of these ideas. I especially like the magazine basket.

LakesHiker on June 06, 2012:

Loved the magazine holder, great idea!

Beverly Rodriguez from Albany New York on June 06, 2012:

Wonderful ideas, especially to reuse cards you have received. I always hate to discard them....Blessed

goldenrulecomics from New Jersey on June 05, 2012:

nice lens. We always try to reuse of recycle paper.

anonymous on May 21, 2012:

Wow, so many creative ways to reuse paper! Amazing. Very nice lens.

KateHonebrink on May 14, 2012:

These are the best paper recycling ideas I have ever seen! I plan on using all of them ASAP! Thanks so much for such a great article and I can really see why you made the upcycling monsterboard! Kudos on a super job!!

NC Shepherd on April 20, 2012:

Hard to believe people even buy note paper, when there's all that free note space on the back of junk mail!

gatornic15 on April 18, 2012:

These are some really great ideas.

BuddyBink on April 17, 2012:

I often wrap gifts in old newspaper. I use the Sunday comics if there is a need to be colorful.

Julia Morais on March 20, 2012:

Love this lens. Especially liked the paper trash can. Wish there were instructions on how to make it.

Teri Villars from Phoenix, Arizona on February 21, 2012:

I have a stack on note paper made out of the reverse side of the ad mailer. Blessed!

Barbara Radisavljevic from Paso Robles, CA on February 20, 2012:

I'm already shredding paper to use as packing material. I stuff the plastic bags newspapers are wrapped in with it and tie the ends so my customers aren't met with a bunch of shredded paper when they open their book boxes.

PositiveChristi1 on January 26, 2012:

Terrific ideas. I'm now thinking of making some craft paper with my daughter.


anonymous on January 24, 2012:

Retuning to bless your excellent, fun, functional and cool ways to reuse paper. I made the paper beads with my granddaughter...oh, the smile and the blues in the paper made her eyes pop.

leeleon on January 21, 2012:

I like your Paper Trash Can. Nice.

Welcome to see my recycling lens.

anonymous on December 13, 2011:


anonymous on December 13, 2011:

Thanks for sharing !! I love to weave and reuse papers for my project , i also Weave a Basket with Handle from old magazine

and folding a paper case from old magazines or beautiful brochure !

anonymous on November 17, 2011:

Hey I have reviewed your squidoo lens and I really liked it. Because of this I went ahead and âlikeâ you on squidoo. Giving your lens another like.

When you have time, please take a look at my lens. It is located at

If you like my lens, please add a like to my lens as well. I am new to squidoo and I would appreciate any comments at all.

MintySea on November 10, 2011:

nice lens good ideas on reusing paper

fugeecat lm on October 29, 2011:

I love paper. And there are so many different things I can reuse it as. Thanks for the new ideas.

NellinShoppi on October 29, 2011:

Nice work on the lens! :)

totalhealth on October 27, 2011:

beautiful ways to reuse and recycle papers, the paper trash can is really nice.

Spikey64 on October 27, 2011:

I love the magazine holder I have just got to have a go at that myself.

anonymous on October 15, 2011:

What wonderful ideas here!!!

Becksta on October 11, 2011:

Another little tip I tend to use is to not throw out the extra wrapping paper from wrapping big gifts, instead I place it in the middle of the tube and use it to wrap smaller gifts such as Jewelry

GottaGreenBuzz on October 11, 2011:

Nice lens! I use paper for wrapping small gifts. This was a good reminder for all to use less paper! You've got me buzzing with some thoughts on this! Thank you.

Anime-e on October 02, 2011:

I would totally do that type of stuff!

adamfrench on September 28, 2011:

Impressive lens, thumbs up

anonymous on August 24, 2011:

My granddaughter was visiting and we got to work on paper beads again...her smile said it all! Very well done with ideas that people will actually do because the end result is pleasing to the eye and fun to do.

dahlia369 on August 11, 2011:

I also tried mulching with shredded paper. It worked, but I really didn't like the look. Next time I should put some straw to cover the paper, perhaps.

mellex lm from Australia on August 05, 2011:

I shred my newspaper for the compost, worm farm or I lay it in the garden to prevent weeds.

hsschulte (author) on August 04, 2011:

@Virginia Allain: I've heard of using it as mulch. When I tried it those bright white pieces of paper blew all over my yard. I guess it was because I didn't soak it down properly. Thanks for the tip. Now, I know!

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on August 04, 2011:

We soaked the shredded office paper to form a thick mulch for my sister's tomato plants.

CruiseReady from East Central Florida on July 23, 2011:

I shred a LOT of paper and documents. That shredded paper makes great packing material when you have to box anything up to mail, to store, or when you are moving.

Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on July 15, 2011:

The rolled paper and glued trashcan is fantastic!

Gayle from McLaughlin on July 13, 2011:

What great ideas! I didn't know you could do so many different things with paper. You have me thinking!

anonymous on June 30, 2011:

OMG, this is brilliant. Seriously. And good for you for being so green :) Thank you and our earth thanks you. Wicked cool!!

FarmerTom on June 27, 2011:

Fanstastic ideas! I too love the paper trash can. Thanks.

Harshitha LM on June 27, 2011:

Great ideas. I loved the trash can idea. Paper beads are fun way to keep kids engaged for hours.

mockingbird999 on June 26, 2011:

I love the paper trash can.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on June 26, 2011:

Great batch of ideas for re-using paper. I had an eHow article on making a curly bow out of recycled strips of gift wrap but it's gone now.

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on June 26, 2011:

Great ideas here for reusing paper. I try to reprint on the clean side of printer paper when possible and always keep paper for notes. If I can't reuse it, I recycle it.

Frischy from Kentucky, USA on June 26, 2011:

My father once tried to paper a wall using brown paper grocery sacks. Unfortunately, it did not work. The glue soaked through the paper unevenly and left ugly splotches on the wall. Not to mention, there were too many seams going in every direction! I have, however, decoupaged a wall in my bathroom using pictures cut out of magazines. It was easy and fun to do, using modge podge.

anonymous on May 22, 2011:

wonderful website

FunkyJewelleryUK on May 15, 2011:

Great lens! Some brilliant ideas! I make jewellery using recycled products and everyday objects, including using recycled paper! Love it. Nice work :)

I001l01I02l on May 07, 2011:

this is so cool! i really like the trash can, i'm a bit messy, really. And i care for the environment though i use up a lot of paper. great lens!

Lee Hansen from Vermont on April 08, 2011:

I may just make that paper coil trash can. Featuring this on my Earth Day Crafts lens. Some of the projects are a bit much for kids, but mum or dad might be inspired. Another fab lens!

nichevalue on March 12, 2011:

Cool ideas - Love the paper trash can idea. Would make an awesome craft for our children.


Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on February 26, 2011:

This is an excellent lens and great ideas on reusing paper ~ awesome job! :)

anonymous on February 01, 2011:

These are very useful for anyone who would be looking for ideas on how they can reuse paper. It is also a great source of information for students who are still thinking on what school project they can do that is related to recycling. May it be a big piece of newspaper or a strip of shredded (for shredding:, you can really do a lot with it.

gravityx9 on January 31, 2011:

Super Lens! I have featured it with my lens 'It's Good to be Green', ! THUMBS UP *SEE IT HERE*

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on January 19, 2011:

I save the gold and silver backs from my Christmas cards to cut up and use when I make valentines.

LadyLovelace LM on September 11, 2010:

Making paper beads is another awesome way to reuse paper - great lens!

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