Each person in the UK gets through 50kg of paper a year.
It’s made up of:
• cardboard – from cereal boxes to large boxes you purchase appliances in
• catalogues, magazines, junk mail and newspapers
• print outs (you’ve got a home printer, right?)
• toilet rolls
• receipts and tickets
• paper napkins, kitchen roll … the list goes on.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine what 250kg of paper looks like. Luckily, writer Mandy Haggith shows us:
Pretty shocking, isn’t it?
While every tonne of paper recycled saves 17 trees, let’s take a step back up the waste hierarchy by looking at how we can REUSE paper and cardboard instead.
Cardboard makes a brilliant weed suppressant if you’re just starting out with an unloved allotment.
Lay your cardboard down, cover with straw or some other mulch and you can leave to rot down until you’re ready to do the digging.
Alternatively, cut holes in the cardboard to stick plants through – it will reduce the need for watering AND weeding.
Tidy the house
Toilet roll inners are fantastic for keeping things tidy!
Use them to wrap around cables to prevent them getting tangled, store your Christmas lights and cut them to make a cuff to put around rolls of wrapping paper to stop them unravelling.
This idea takes me back to my Grandma’s living room and a pair of pinking sheers. Every year I used to make Christmas gift tags from last year’s Christmas cards. It’s ridiculously simple to do, but oh so satisfying.
We don’t have so much paper at home. We’ve signed up for the Mail Preference Service to reduce junk mail and switched to paperless billing for our utilities.
If you’re living under a paper mountain, here are some reuse ideas!
When I was a feisty teen I used to scoff at my Grandma who’d open presents carefully, then iron the paper to reuse.
Now I’ve discovered that each Christmas, people in the UK use enough wrapping paper to cover the island of Guernsey, I think we should all be getting our irons out.
Reuse your calendar
If you’ve got an old calendar lurking somewhere, at some point in the future, the days and dates will match up again.
Click here to find out when you can reuse YOUR calendar.
Donate your books
Come on, admit it – you’ve got far too many books.
There are plenty of opportunities for other people to reuse them by donating to a local school, hospital, hospice, daycare centre, community library, old peoples’ home or women’s shelter. Check out some of our ideas here.
Take it away!
If you’ve become overrun with old bank statements, invoices and documents you might need professional help. There are companies who offer domestic and business shredding services. If you ask the right questions, you can keep your zero waste credentials intact too. Companies such as Datashredders recycle 99% of all their shredding.
What about you? How do you reuse paper and cardboard at home or in the office?
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