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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

8 ways to recycle paper yourself

Handmade notebooks

Credit: Courtesy of BBB Craft Sisters at Design Sponge

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In my last post we discussed buying recycled paper. But if you’re willing to experiment, you can do a bit of DIY recycling. If you’ve got a stack of paper you don’t have to put it in the recycling bin, you can use it for crafting with.

The internet is full of little projects that need paper, mostly for decorative things. I like the idea of having pretty stuff around the house that’s still eco-friendly. Here’s a few to get you started:

  • Bows for gifts - this tutorial uses newspaper, but I think magazines would work too.
  • A decorative bowl - this would be nice to keep your keys and sunglasses and other little bits and pieces all in one place so you don’t lose them.
  • A mobile - this one with birds is very sweet and can be made by children.

If you aren’t the frills and decorations type, there’s still lots of projects you can try. These are five of my favourites because not only do they re-use paper, they help you avoid buying other paper products:

  • Notebooks - I do this at work with all the printed reports I’m given, but mine aren’t as pretty because I just use a binder clip or a staple to hold them together!
  • Envelopes - I used to do something similar when I was at university and writing to friends, only I’d make the envelope out of the letter itself.
  • Gift bags - my family has a rotating stash of gift bags that get passed around from one birthday to the next, but if you haven’t then these bags will come in handy at gift-giving times.
  • CD cases - no need for the bulk-packs of plastic sleeves or jewel cases.
  • Making more paper! If the paper you’ve got isn’t what you need, you can always do a rough version of what they do at the paper mills by making a pulp, and then pressing it into the shape you want. This video tutorial shows you how.

Have you come up with any creative re-use ideas for paper? I’d love to hear about it.