Benefits of recycling are numerous

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Reusing products and items saves money, reduces the amount of energy needed to make new items and reduces the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills.

Paper is a commonly used recyclable material. In the United States, the world's largest consumer of paper, the average person uses the equivalent of a 100-foot tall douglas fir tree worth of paper and wood products every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Reusing consumed paper helps to reduce the number of trees cut down for making new paper and paper products.

In order to cut down on the space that paper stored for recycling takes up, many people choose to shred the paper and compress it into bags to put out for pick-up. Shredded paper can be sent out for municipal recycling. However, there are many other practical uses for shredded paper. Here are the many different ways to put shredded paper to good use.

* Mulch: Forget buying mulching materials from the garden center. Use shredded paper bags and newspapers to provide weed control and to keep plants moist. Lay down the shredded paper as you would any mulching material on the soil in garden beds. Use a hose to wet it down and prevent flyaway. Mixing shredded paper with grass seeds also helps keep the seeds damp to create faster germination when reseeding bare spots.

* Worm bin: Some green gardeners have a worm bin in addition to a compost bin in their backyards. Worms produce a lot of nitrogen, which can cause a strong odor. Adding shredded paper, which is high in carbon, will neutralize the odor.

* Cat litter: Soak paper in water and a little dish soap to dissolve any ink. Rinse and repeat with clean water. Add baking soda to the paper pulp and knead it in. Crumble the pulp into bits and allow it to dry thoroughly. Then use as cat litter material.

* Animal bedding: Use shredded paper in the bottom of cages of small rodents, who will use it for nesting material, The paper also will help absorb animal waste for easier cage cleaning.

Paper also can be used for dog or cat beds. Find a discounted material from the fabric store and sew inside out, leaving a small hole for stuffing. Stuff the paper shreds inside, and you have just made an inexpensive dog or cat bed to keep pets cozy.

* Wood stove material: Shredded paper can be used with kindling to start a fire in a wood-burning stove. Some people like to wet the paper and then make molds of "bricks" or "pucks" that can be used more easily once dried.

* Fill gift bags. Rather than buying tissue paper to use in gift bags, use shredded paper instead. Multi-colored shredded paper will go with just about any colored gift bag.

* Packing material: Fill reused zipper-top bags or produce plastic bags with the paper and then use them in boxes when shipping fragile materials. It's better for the environment than plastic or foam peanuts.

* Potting soil: Mix paper into potting soil to help the soil retain moisture. As the paper breaks down, it serves as a nutrition source for the plant.

* Craft projects: Mix shredded paper with equal parts flour and water to make papier mache modeling material.

* Storage: When moving or putting items in storage, pack them in boxes or bags filled with shredded paper to prevent breakage.

* Party confetti: During an outdoor party, enable kids to toss shredded paper as confetti. The material will not harm the lawn or soil.


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Carla Bush
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Members Opinions:
February 11, 2013 at 10:31am
Why doesn't Cannon County have a place to recycle things like plastic?
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