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17 Smart Uses for Shredded Paper: Creative Ideas for Reuse

Brown Shredded Paper

It may seem like the only destination for shredded paper is the trash, but that’s not true. You can use shredded paper in many creative ways. So, if you have shredded paper or scraps around the house, reuse them to cut down on paper-based waste.

Here are 17 smart uses for paper shredding that’ll make you think twice about throwing scraps in the trash.

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The 17 Uses for Shredded Paper

1. Pet Litter

Fresh Cat Sand Pouring into a Yellow Litter Box
Image Credit: Seika Chujo, Shutterstock


Shredded paper can’t completely replace pet litter, but it can act as the padding underneath the litter. However, using shredded paper as litter alone will absorb all the liquids and irritate your cats as they don’t like stepping on wet things. Plus, shredded paper can’t eliminate the smell like pet litter does.

Still, shredded paper is a great way to reduce the amount of litter by mixing the two materials and creating a healthy balance. As a result, you’ll save money in the long run.

2. Sensory Boxes

Kids enjoy the stimulation of rummaging through sensory boxes and learning about objects and senses. Children can increase their focus, engagement, and poise, especially if they suffer from Sensory Process Disorder, with the help of sensory play.

Shredded paper is ideal for creating a base for your kids’ sensory bin. Aside from being highly sensory, shredded paper is an easier mess to clean up than Jell-O or mud. Just run the vacuum once they’re done, and your home is as good as new!

3. Packaging

man carrying delivery packages
Image Credit: romeosessions, Pixabay

There’s no reason to spend money on packaging materials when you already have them at home for free! For example, if you have a large amount of shredded paper at home, you don’t need to buy packing peanuts or crepe paper.

Just stuff your boxes with shredded paper, and you’re good to go. This hack works great for packing gifts or valuables before a big move. The shredded paper cushions the space between each object and keeps them safe during transit.

4. Lucky Dip

Lucky Dips are the most enjoyable charity or school events, so they’re a great time to reuse your leftover shredded paper. Don’t spend money on packing peanuts or thermocol balls to hide the gifts when you could just use shredded paper!

Just fill a large box or bin with a layer of shredded paper, place a gift, add another layer of shredded paper, and repeat. Then, you can charge people based on your surprises’ value and let them rummage around the Lucky Dip to find a gift.

5. Mulching

Coconut Mulch
Image Credit: Alisadoxm, Shutterstock

Mulching is a great way to utilize shredded paper, providing warmth, protection, and nutrients for the plant’s roots. In addition, the shredded paper helps retain moisture, cool the ground temperature, and improve soil fertility. It’s also worth noting that shredded paper can help inhibit weeds by starving them of sunlight and nutrition.

6. Compost Bin

You can also use shredded as the base layer for your compost bin, which counts as “brown matter” in your composting. This allows you to add as much shredded paper as you have. In a compost bin, you need more brown matter than green matter, which is kitchen waste.

It’s important to note that white shredded paper is ideal for composting since colored or glossy paper may contain some toxic heavy metals. Besides, newspapers are also safe to use in your compost bin, which are even less toxic than grass or straw.

7. Easter Nest Liners

egg shells
Image Credit: gadee4d133, Pixabay

It’s also smart to use shredded paper as easter nest liners since it has the same texture as the straw found in nests. First, experiment with colored shredded paper to make your Easter nest look more unique. Then, you must place a shredded paper bedding and add your Easter-themed toys and decor!

8. Seedling Pots

While in the garden, you can also use shredded paper as seedling pots. First, pulp the shredded paper by soaking it in water and putting it in a blender. Then, use a muffin tray to shape the pulp into little seedling pots and let them dry.

Once fully dried, you can plant them directly into the garden. Acting as mulch, these shredded paper seedling pots will help retain moisture, cool the ground temperature, and improve soil fertility. In simpler words, they act as DIY seed starters that cost nothing to make.

9. Kids Art Projects

kid sitting in the porch deck
Image Credit: Pixabay

There’s no better place to use shredded paper than in kids’ art projects; the uses are practically endless! It might make a mess, but since it’s a creative learning experience for your kids, it’s a mess that’s worth it. Plus, it’s a great way to keep them and their minds occupied for a few hours while you nap.

You can ask them to make shredded paper animals, challenging their creative skills to see how they’ll utilize their scraps for fluffy animals, such as sheep and dogs. Then, if Easter is just around the corner, you can get them in the spirit by assigning a shredded paper art project to create bird nests.

You can also replace cotton wool with shredded paper in any art project, creating a more environmentally friendly and economical classroom.

10. Recycled Paper

Yes, you can make paper with paper. If you’ve had to shred papers with valuable or personal information and don’t know what to do with the scraps, you can just make more paper. First, pulp the shreds by soaking them and putting them in a blender.

Then, fill a large box or tub with water before mixing the shredded paper pulp. Once fully mixed, use a paper mold or deckle to strain the pulp out in the shape of a paper sheet. If you don’t have one, you can make your deckle.

Just attach two picture frames or stretched canvases with wood glue after sandwiching a layer of fiberglass or aluminum window screen between them. Then, press the strained pulp sheet onto a cloth and let it dry overnight. Repeat the process, and you’ll have homemade paper the next day!

11. Paper Mache

To make paper mache, you’ll need shredded paper, plain flour, water, salt, table covering, emulsion paint, Vaseline, and a paintbrush. First, mix one part flour with one part water until you reach a glue-like consistency. Then, make sure to add a teaspoon of salt to prevent mold.

Then, grab a bowl and use the brush to apply the glue mixture, some of the shredded paper, and then the glue mixture again. Repeat this process until the bowl’s surface is covered and let it dry. Once fully dried, gradually build more layers to achieve your desired thickness.

Finally, finish up with a layer of emulsion paint and let it dry overnight. You’ll have a sturdy and economical paper mache bowl the next day, which you can paint and decorate as you desire.

12. Gardener’s Knee Pads

If you or your kids have taken up gardening, you probably understand the pain of kneeling on the ground for so long. Luckily, you won’t have to invest in gardener’s knee pads if you already have extra shredded paper in the house.

Shredded paper can be pretty comfy once you stuff it tightly into rubble sacks and seal it with duct tape. These sacks will cushion your knees perfectly during your gardening activities. Plus, they’re waterproof, so you don’t need to worry about the soil ruining them.

13. Paper Clay

laminated paper
Image Credit: SpockyPo, Shutterstock

Clay is incredibly fun to play with, but it can get expensive when your kids lose their play dough in mysterious places! That’s why paper clay is the perfect economical alternative. Although this clay won’t be white, it’s still a great medium to work with and keep your kids entertained.

First, soak your shredded paper in hot water and leave overnight. Once fully soaked, blend the mixture to create paper pulp and squeeze out the excess water. Then, add flour (for stickiness) and salt (to prevent mold) to your mixture. Store this in an airtight container and leave it in the fridge for two to three weeks.

Then, you’ll find a clay-like consistency that you can shape in any way you like!

14. Insect Repellants

Scenting some shredded paper with essential oils is the smartest thing you can do. Depending on your essential oil, this can work as a scent diffuser or insect repellant. Just cover the shredded paper in a few drops of essential oils, stuff it into a small pouch, and you have a little essential oil sachet.

If you can’t eliminate the musty smell in a drawer, cupboard, or bathroom, place a shredded paper sachet with sweet-smelling essential oils such as lavender, lemon, or jasmine. You can also use peppermint, rosemary, and clove essential oils, as they are natural insect repellants.

These sachets will help eliminate garden pests, mosquitoes, and other insects.

15. Pet Bedding

pet bed

Those with pet hamsters understand how quickly they soil their bedding, which is why shredded paper is the perfect economical alternative. The best part is that you can just compost the shredded paper bedding once the pet hamster has soiled it.

Due to the fun texture, pet hamsters love playing around with shredded paper. So, you’ll be giving them a treat while saving money! If you don’t have a pet hamster, you can donate the extra shredded paper to veterinary clinics or animal shelters; they’ll surely appreciate it.

16. Wood Stove Kindling

Shredded paper also acts as an effective fire starter; combine it with an egg carton and wax. After starting the fire, keep the flames high with the help of shredded paper wood stove kindling. In this case, a brick maker will be especially handy as it allows you to turn the shredded paper into bricks to fuel your wood stove.

17. Bird Toys

Those with pet birds are familiar with how much they love tearing anything apart, especially paper! Use shredded paper to create toys for your birds to tear apart and enjoy their time in the cage. Just turn the shredded paper into a paper mache to turn it into any shape your bird might like.

You can also tie a bunch of paper shreddings together to create pom poms, which your parrot will have a great time with! If more shreddings are leftover, use them as a base for your bird’s cage.

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Shredded paper isn’t as useless as you think. But, before you throw them in the recycle bin, remember that these shreddings are hard for recycling plants to handle and will most likely end up in a landfill. So, it’s best to use any of the tips mentioned above to reuse shredded paper!

Featured Image Credit: Sharon Waldron, Unsplash


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