13 Uses for Shredded Paper

Give your old bills a second life. (Photo: Dario Sabljack/Shutterstock)

Not all curbside recycling programs take shredded paper, particularly those that have single-stream recycling. The shreds can clog up the machinery that separates the recyclables. If you can't recycle your shredded paper, what can you do with it besides put it in the trash to give it at least one more use? There are many, many uses for shredded paper.

1. Use it as packing material. It can cushion breakable, valuable items when you're storing them or when you're moving.

2. Put it in under kitty litter. Since cats like depth, it can add some depth to the litter box, meaning you'll need to use less litter.

3. Loosely stuff it into empty toilet paper rolls or cut up paper towel rolls to make kindling or fire starters.

4. Make more paper. The video below shows how easy it is if you have the right tools. (Tip: In the video they use paper towels in the process, which would get thrown away after. Try using an old cotton scarf in place of the paper towels that can be washed and reused.)

5. Stuff it in an opaque vase to keep silk flower arrangements in place.

6. Donate it to an animal shelter where they can use it for bedding or litter, but call first to make sure they need it.

7. Use as filler for gift bags.

8. Use it as a layer of mulch under fill dirt, compost or other mulch. This works best with plain white paper or newspaper. Colored paper or paper that's glossy won't break down as easily.

9. Make paper clay. This video below demonstrates how to make DIY shredded paper clay that can be hand molded or used in molds.

10. Put some in a repurposed decorative bag and add your favorite essential oil to create upcycled potpourri or party favors.

11. If you have a celebration coming up that calls for confetti, then consider using shredded paper.

12. Use shredded paper as basket fillers whether it's a holiday gift basket or an Easter basket. If you're going for a specific aesthetic, you can use the shredded paper for the bulk of the basket, and add a decorative topping to not sacrifice a festive look.

13. If you don't want to do anything with it, offer it on Freecycle or a Facebook neighborhood swap site. There may be others who may want it for any of the above reasons.