Garbage 101: Ways to Reuse Paper Waste Around Your Home

In our first Garbage 101 article, we discussed it was best to keep paper and other biodegradable materials out of landfills as much as possible.  We are lucky enough to have a recycling service that picks up our recyclables every two weeks, but we really try to reuse as much of our paper waste as possible before we even consider recycling it.

It all starts with our recycling bins where all of our paper waste is sorted.  We added labels to the bins for the girls.  We even had a LANDFILL sign on our trash at one point.  It was a good reminder to us all.  

The trick to sustainability is viewing your trash as a resource instead of garbage, and we have found lots of re-uses for paper around our home.

Cardboard makes great landscape fabric.  It keeps the weeds out, just lay the mulch right over it.

We have had a problem with rabbits eating our new bushes and trees.  So we reuse our paper towel and toilet paper rolls and wrap them around the base.  It has worked like a charm!  The SSL Family Dad has a post and video on this topic.

After we have weeded out the boxes for landscape fabric & storage, and the paper towel rolls for the trees, we then shred everything else.  But first we separate the glossy paper out.  The non-glossy paper and non-glossy boxes are shredded separately and used for the outdoor compost pile and worm bin.  

The glossy paper and boxes are then shredded and soaked in water for up to a week so that it all breaks down.  The SSL Family Dad then takes that soggy paper mess and turns it into paper logs with this paper log maker that he burns in our outdoor wood burning stove.  We use this stove to heat our pool in the summer and heat our garage in the winter.  

Here is the contraption my wonderful husband put together for the shredding and soaking of glossy paper.  He mounted our old paper shredder on top of a 55-gallon barrel that he cut in half.   Yes, we're weird.  And yes, some things around our house are weird.  But because marriage is all about balance, I would like to think that I balance things out and keep things from getting TOO weird around here.  (Let's just not ask the SSL Family Dad about that, okay?)