You probably already know that there are a lot of great programs that allow you to recycle printer toner and printer ink cartridges, but what about printer paper? If your office has a recycling program, loose sheets of paper can just be tossed in the bin. It can be a bit tricky, though, if your office uses colored paper. White paper is easy to recycle, but brightly colored pages can ruin entire batches during the recycling process.
If you don’t want to separate white and colored paper or you are just looking for other ways to reuse or recycle printer paper, you are in luck. Here are a few unique ways to reuse and recycle printer paper.
1. Print on Both Sides
Printing on both sides of the paper is one of the best ways to “reuse” printer paper. Double-sided printing enables you to use each piece of paper twice. This, of course, cuts down on the amount of paper you use.
2. Use Paper for Kids’ Crafts
If you have kids, the backs of printed papers are also great for drawing. Just make sure you aren’t sending home any confidential documents for your toddlers to use for the artwork! Old paper can also be used to make paper maché.
3. Make Packing Material
If you have a paper shredder, papers that you no longer need can be shredded to create eco-friendly packing material. Shredded paper works especially well as a void filler when shipping small, fragile items. If your business doesn’t ship products, find out of there is an eBay seller in your area or another small business owner who may be able to use your shredded paper.
4. Make Bedding for Pets
Shredded paper also works well as bedding for small pets like hamsters and guinea pigs. It is a great alternative to straw and other bedding materials, and it is a hypo-allergenic option for families and pets that are allergic to sawdust or straw.
5. Insulate Your Home or Office
If you have a lot of shredded paper, you can use it as insulation. Fill large plastic bags with shredded paper and staple the bags in the rafters or under floorboards. It isn’t the prettiest solution, but it is an effective method of reusing paper.
6. Create Notepads
Paper that is only printed on one side can be turned into notepads. Stack several sheets together, then punch using a three-hole punch. Punch pieces of cardboard for the front and back, and then bind everything together using rings or even zip ties. You could also take all of the loose sheets to a print or copy shop and ask them to bind them together into a notebook.
7. Make Your Own Recycled Paper
If you are feeling creative, making your own recycled paper from used printer paper is actually pretty easy. To get started, you will need waste paper, water, a food processor or blender, an old picture frame, screen, duct tape or staples, a sponge or cloth, and a rectangular container to hold water.
Tear the paper into small pieces, and put it in your blender or food processor with a bit of warm water. Blend until the mixture is a smooth pulp. Attach the screen to the picture frame using duct tape or staples. Next, pour the pulp into your rectangular bin and submerge the frame. When you lift the frame up, the screen should be covered in pulp. Press out excess water using a sponge or cloth. Finally, let your paper dry for a day or two. It can be left on the screen to dry, or you can flip it over onto another surface. Once dry, you’ll have a brand-new sheet of textured recycled paper.
Waste Not, Want Not
Printer paper is a huge source of waste for many businesses, and it can pose numerous challenges for recycling companies. White and pastel pages are easy to recycle, but sheets that are more vibrantly colored are tricky. While the paper itself is recyclable, recyclers are simply unable to remove the dyes and can end up ruining entire batches if a single sheet ends up in the mix.
There are several ways you can reuse and recycle paper on your own, though. Whether you use it for notetaking, give it to your kids for their next art project, or even shred it and use it for insulation, printer paper can be used for several things after it’s been printed on.