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21 Uses For Shredded Paper To Try Today

Most of us have junk mail, old newspapers, old bills, credit card details, and other private information on paper piling up in our homes. We shred paper that contains sensitive information to protect our identities and confidential information. But are there any other uses for shredded paper?

You're in the right place if you've ever wondered that question. There are several creative and practical uses for shredded paper. In this article, we will explore 21 different ways, from arts and crafts to eco-friendly packaging, composting, and more. 

Can we recycle shredded paper?

machine to make shredded paper
Photo by Raimond Spekking on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original)

Unfortunately, shredded paper recycling isn't straightforward. Most recycling centers can't recycle it because the pieces are too small. The recycling process involves sorting and separating into groups. So, recyclers separate paper products from cardboard, newspaper, office paper, and so on.

Sorting shredded paper can be challenging during the sorting process as the tiny pieces of paper fibers can get caught in discs or slip through screens. The small fiber lengths could also be blown away, especially if the facility uses a vacuum.

Because of these reasons, most recycling centers won’t accept shredded paper. So, you can't just place it in a recycling bin. However, you may want to check within your area to find out if you can get your shredded paper recycled and what guidelines to follow.

On the other hand, instead of throwing your shredded paper in the trash and contributing to landfill waste, you can use it in different fun and practical ways, which we will look at shortly. 

Related Read: Is Paper Biodegradable?

21 Fun And Practical Uses For Shredded Paper 

1. Add shredded paper to house pot plants

various plant pots
Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

One creative and eco-friendly way to use shredded paper is to add them to your indoor or outdoor pot plants. This can be helpful if you're on a budget and want to utilize your soil for several pot plants. 

Simply add small pieces of paper to your potting soil. Over time, the paper will break down into the soil. 

Related Read: Apartment Gardening.

2. Use for paper clay

You can use the excess shredded paper or toilet paper rolls in your home to make paper clay that you can use for art projects. While they work similarly to paper mache, you don't make paper clay the same way. 

To make paper clay, you need to mix your shredded paper pulp with glue, flour, oil, and other items and mix until you get a smooth paste. You can use it to make creative items like bowls, spoons, pots, and creative art projects. Since they have a smooth texture, you can use them to repair cracks instead of conventional clay. 

3. Use for your kitty litter

cat on litter box
Photo: iStock.

If you have cats as pets, you know that a cat litter box can be quite pricey. To provide a cozy environment for your cat and reduce the number of times you have to replace your cat litter box, you can pad it up with shredded paper. 

Related Read: Best Eco-Friendly Cat Litter.

4. Use for paper mache

If you’re thinking of crafty uses for shredded paper locked up in your office, you can make papier mache. If you have kids, making paper mache can be a fun activity you can try. 

Simply mix flour and water in equal parts and add paper bits. You can find and try out other papier mache recipes online. You can use your mixture to create some exciting crafts like bowls, balls, seedling pots, and more. You can also grab a permanent marker and decorate your handicrafts.

5. Use as packing material for Christmas ornaments

shredded paper as packing material
Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels

Do you have Christmas ornaments and delicate items that you need to wrap up? Instead of using bubble wrap, you can use shredded paper as packing materials for these items. 

Simply stuff some in a cardboard box when moving delicate ornaments to prevent them from breaking. You can also stuff some in sandwich bags, place them in a box, and use them for packing delicate stuff.

Related Read: Zero Waste Holidays.

6. Use as nesting boxes

If you have chickens, rabbits, or guinea pigs, buying materials for your nesting boxes can get quite expensive, especially because you may have to toss and replace them after your chickens poop all over them. 

So, instead of buying materials, you can use quite a bit of shredded paper to layer your boxes and save some money. 

7. Use shredded paper as pet bedding

dog on a bed
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Instead of buying expensive bedding for your pets, you can use shredded paper as an animal shelter. You can also use it as an extension of your pet’s bedding to create warmth and comfort. 

If you don’t have pets, you can donate them to a veterinarian who can use them for their pet. 

Related Read: Best Eco-Friendly Dog Beds.

8. Cover your chicken coop

Shredded paper can make a great cover for your chicken coop floor. While you can use hay, straws, mulch, and other items, the pieces of paper can also work just as well because they compost easily and may not attract bugs. 

9. Add shredded paper to your compost bin

compost heap at capacity
Photo by Alan Levine on Flickr (Public Domain)

Composting is an environmentally friendly way to get rid of your shredded paper. Paper can be very useful for the compost heap in your garden. They can serve as the brown waste needed for your composting process. 

With the right amount of paper in your compost heap, your waste products can biodegrade into rich nutrients you can use in your garden. You want to avoid adding glossy paper, colored paper, or envelope windows to your compost pile as they contain harmful chemicals that are not good for your garden soil. 

Related Read: Urban Composting.

10. Use shredded paper with mulch

There are more uses for shredded paper in your garden. You can use them as mulch around your trees and in your garden. Just like with composting, microorganisms will break down the paper. 

So, you can shred some paper and mix it with a mulch pile to create rich soil for the plants and trees in your garden. 

11. Use as a vase filler

flower in vase
Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

If you are trying to arrange flowers in your vase, you can shred some paper and use it as filler for your flower vase. Instead of using lots of pebbles or other vase fillers, you can simply stuff all the extra shredded paper in your vase. 

12. Turn it into a fire starter

If you’re on a camping trip or it’s the winter, you will want to make your own fire starters. Thankfully, if you have some shredded paper, you can easily make yours. 

To make your fire starter, melt some old candles in a pot until they turn into wax. Be careful to avoid getting the wax burnt. Next, fill a muffin tray or egg carton with your shredded papers. Then, pour just enough melted wax all over them. 

Then remove the waxed papers from the tray or carton and store your fire starters in a container or bag away from moisture. 

With this, you can easily get a fire pit working in your home or even light up a grill for some barbecue during camping. 

Related Read: Best Eco-Friendly Camping Products.

13. Toss it into your fireplace

wood beside fireplace
Photo by Austin Johnson on Unsplash

If you have a fireplace at home, you can easily toss some shredded papers into your fireplace or wood stove. Roll up a good bunch and place it in one or two areas around the logs in your fireplace instead of just throwing a handful into the fireplace. 

You want to be careful about the kind of paper you toss into your fireplace. Glossy papers or papers coated with some chemicals might be a bad idea as they may let out some harmful chemicals you don't want to inhale. 

14. Pad your gift bags

If you’re using lots of decorative bags for party favors, you can pad the bottom with shredded paper and avoid using lots of tissue paper. 

15. Make a confetti

colorful paper confetti
Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

Do you have a celebration coming? Instead of using confetti, you can use shredded paper for your next celebration. They float just as well as confetti and won’t leave much of a mess. 

16. Make kneeling pads

If you need a firm cushion or a kneeling pad, the shredded papers in your home can make a good cushion for your knees. 

To carry out various projects on your knees, make a kneeling pad by stuffing shredded paper into a sturdy bag and sealing it with duct tape. So, if you have a sturdy bag you can’t repair, you can stuff paper in it and put it to good use.

17. Use your shredded paper as basket fillers

easter egg basket with shredded paper filler
Photo by Σελήνη on Unsplash

Do you have some beautiful Easter baskets? Or maybe you have gift baskets for a friend’s birthday? Instead of using plastic grass as a basket filler, you can put your shredded papers to good use. 

Cut up your paper into long strips; you can color them if you like. After shredding your papers into long strips, you can use them as basket fillers for your Easter basket or gift basket.         

18. Make a homemade sachet

You can make a homemade sachet to freshen up the atmosphere of your home or repel insects. 

Add scent to some shredded paper with essential oils such as jasmine and lavender. Put these papers in a pouch and then put them up in your space. You can also use some essential oils like peppermint and rosemary to ward off insects and pests. 

19. Use it as stuffing for your kids’ toys

pink bunny stuffed toy
Photo by Paulo Almeida on Unsplash

If you have many shredded papers in your home, you can do much more than just throw them away. They can be great stuffing for your kids’ toys. 

For example, you can stuff shredded papers in your homemade dolls or scarecrows on your farm. You can add papers to a homemade fabric bag to make little chairs that look like bean bags. Furthermore, you can use it for items like decorative pillows. 

20. Use for sensory bins

If you have kids at home, another creative way you can utilize your shredded paper is to put it in a sensory bin for your kids to explore. 

Simply shred some papers in a plastic bin or cardboard box, hide some objects inside, and let your kids have fun. You want to cut more paper into micro shreds instead of long shreds to form a heavier mass within the bin or box. 

21. Make your own paper

homemade paper
Photo by Dan Cristian Pădureț on Pexels

Finally, you can make your own recycled paper or homemade paper out of shreds of paper or junk mail. Homemade paper is thicker with rough edges. They are great for making gift tags, scrapbooks, greeting cards, and more.

All you need to do is get a good paper-making kit, shred some paper, and turn it into pulp to make new paper.

Is shredded paper biodegradable?     

This depends on the kind of paper used. Since paper is a wood-based product, it will break down just as wood does. When you put paper in the soil, bacteria and fungi feed on the natural cellulose of the paper, breaking it down. This makes paper a great option for composting. 

However, polyethylene-coated paper is not biodegradable. While the paper will break down into the soil, the plastic film doesn’t. Papers coated with paraffin or silicone wax will break down. But, due to chemical additives, this will be a slower process. 

Furthermore, bleached papers break down more easily than unbleached papers. Certain paper compounds are removed during bleaching, making it easy for bacteria to break down the bleached paper. On the other hand, unbleached paper will break down, but this will take a longer period.

Final thoughts: Uses For Shredded Paper

From making paper-based clay to making a shelter for your pets, composting them, making confetti, or using them in your fireplace, there are tons of creative ways to use those shredded papers in your home or office. So, we hope you can find creative uses for shredded papers from our article above. 

By Jennifer Okafor, BSc.

Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.

Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

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