Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Living on the Cheap.
Whether you’re in the midst of spring cleaning, it’s just past Tax Day, you’re moving to a new house or the year is coming to an end — we occasionally need to shred a lot of paper that it turns out we no longer need.
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
Use it to cushion and protect fragile ornaments when you pack away your holiday decor.
2. Pad Gift Baskets
Use it as filler in the bottom of gift baskets.
3. Compost It
Add it to your compost pile.
4. Use in Animal Cages
Use it for bedding for small pets such as gerbils and hamsters.
5. Add to Potting Soil
Mix it with potting soil when you pot houseplants.
6. Spark a Fire
Use it as fire starter in your fireplace or campfire.
7. Papier-Mache Projects
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
Add some to kitty’s litter box to stretch the expensive kitty litter.
9. Make Paper
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
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.