10 Ways to Re-Use Waste Paper


Author: Sangeetha Murali

There is no doubt we are living in a country filled with garbage. Currently, India produces about 0.1 million tons of municipal solid waste every day, which sums up to about 36.5 million tons annually. Civic authorities are spending about INR500 to INR1500 per ton for handling solid waste. The management of waste primarily involves collection, transferring to the treatment site, treatment and then, disposal. The major expenditure occurs on the collection of waste (about 65%). The current piece focuses on the re-use of paper and plastic waste to reduce the amount of waste produced.

Why should we re-use paper?

Nearly 93% of the paper we use is derived from trees. To produce one kilogram of paper, 324 liters of water is used, while one sheet of A4 paper takes up 10 liters of water. To meet the amplifying demand for paper, trees are being cut rapidly and we are faced with serious repercussions of deforestation. While it was estimated that the ongoing electronic revolution will reduce the demand for paper, the lack of equal distribution and opportunity to access electronic benefits has meant that the demand for paper continues to rise in developing countries and it is predicted to double by 2030.

Ideas to Re-use Waste Paper

Here are some simple yet wonderful ideas to reuse waste paper lying at home:

1Paper Mache Decoration Item

Paper mache is a paste formed by mixing 1/4th of water to 3/4th of glue. Use waste paper strips along with the paste to create decoration items of different shapes and sizes.

2Paper Mache Paper Bowl

To make a paper mache bowl, use a plain bowl (glass or steel) and stick bits of paper all around it until you get the desired thickness is achieved. Let it dry for at least 10 hours.

3Newspaper Baskets

Baskets can be weaved using strips of newspaper moulded in varying patterns, but this needs skills of basket weaving!

4Recycled Paper Photo Frames

Photo frames can be created by lumping together sheets of paper into the sides of frame. You can also add in ornamental items made from paper onto the frames.

5Recycled Paper Bags

Use two sheets of newspaper folded horizontally and stapled at the loose ends to create one paper bag. Pitch in old cloth strings or jute threads for the the support or handle.

6Recycled Ice Cream Sticks Bookmarks

Collect ice cream sticks and paint them in different patterns. For children, go with animal and cartoon shapes while readers can choose short quotes or name of the book’s author on the stick.

7Pen Stand

Collect and shape strips of newspaper into sticks. You can also use colorful paper tapes to keep them from disassembling. Use a cardboard piece as the bottom. Place the sticks together using glue or stitch them together using cotton threads.

8Recycled Paper Wall Hangings

Cut variously colored newspapers into circular shaped pieces. Use a rubber or plastic ball as the base. Apply glue or double side tap over the circumference of the ball and stick the pieces onto them.

9Recycled Paper Bracelets

Immerse the sticks in boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain the water and bend them. Let the sticks cool. Use glass tumbler to give the sticks appropriate shape.

10Recycled Paper Ear Rings

Paper earrings need to be created using thick-sized sheets. You can find these in magazine covers or also using paper mache paste. Use paper tape to bring the sheets into circular or any desired shape. The advantage of using paper tape is that you can paint it to the color you wish before gluing them together to complete the earring.

What about you?

John C Sawhill said “A society is not defined by what it creates, but by what it refuses to destroy.”. Have you created innovative items out of waste paper at home? Do tell us your re-use and save experience by commenting to this page or on our social media!


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