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10 Uses for Shredded Paper

A man shreds paper
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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.

With Tax Day now in your rear-view mirror, you’re probably shredding a lot of financial papers from years past that are no longer relevant.

And, of course, you’ll be putting any papers containing personal information through the shredder, which means you may end up with a glut of shredded paper.

The easiest way to dispose of all that shredded paper is obvious: Dump it in the recycle bin. Check with your recycler to make sure it will take shredded paper.

But, if you’re interested in doing your own recycling, there are alternatives to pitching shredded paper in the recycle bin. Here are 10 uses for shredded paper.

1. Protect Fragile Ornaments

Fragile ornament
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Use it to cushion and protect fragile ornaments when you pack away your holiday decor.

2. Pad Gift Baskets

Gift basket
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Use it as filler in the bottom of gift baskets.

3. Compost It

Composting bin
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Add it to your compost pile.

4. Use in Animal Cages

white hamster in hamster cage
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Use it for bedding for small pets such as gerbils and hamsters.

5. Add to Potting Soil

Senior woman in her garden
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Mix it with potting soil when you pot houseplants.

6. Spark a Fire

People roast marshmallows ove
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Use it as fire starter in your fireplace or campfire.

7. Papier-Mache Projects

cardboard pinata rainbow party
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If you’re really feeling crafty, use it to make papier-mache. While newsprint is the most commonly used paper for making papier-mache because it is more absorbent and pliable, you can experiment using other types of shredded paper.

8. Stretch Kitty Litter

Cats in a litter box
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Add some to kitty’s litter box to stretch the expensive kitty litter.

9. Make Paper

Many art galleries offer activities that allow the kids to try their own hand at painting (or even, as pictured above, try painting their own hands).
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If you really want to go back to basics (or do a fun project with the kids), make paper with it.

10. Use It as Packing Material

A happy man smiles while opening a package in a shipping box on his sofa
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Here’s our favorite: Use it as packing material when you send items through the mail. It’s a great alternative to those ever-annoying packing peanuts — and more eco-friendly.

If desired, make little “pillows” to protect the box’s contents by stuffing the shredded paper into second-time-around sandwich bags (make sure they’re clean!) or plastic produce bags fastened with a twist-tie.

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