Money doesn’t grow on trees. Really, it doesn’t. Banknotes aren’t made from paper; they’re made from cotton paper, which is cotton rag sometimes mixed with linen, abaca and other textile fibres. There, you just learnt something.

Paper, on the other hand, does grow on trees. Or to be precise, it’s manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances. (Wow, we really are expanding our minds today.)

There are a lot of trees in the world but humans are going through them like nobody’s business. Take the Amazon rainforest for instance: since 1978, over 289,000 square miles of it has been destroyed across Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana. Though we’re unlikely to run out of trees anytime soon, it is possible that we’ll run out of resources, and we can definitely say that we’re damaging the environment in the process.

So, what can each of us do to reduce paper wastage? Let’s have a shufty:


1)    The simplest and most effective way to reduce wastage is to reduce usage. From writing shopping lists on your smartphone to refraining from printing emails at work, this will make a significant positive impact on a daily basis.

2)    Reuse printed paper by turning it into a notepad. Either staple scrap pieces to a cardboard backing board or simply save them in an accessible place for when you need to jot something down.

3)    Give used paper to the kids to draw on. Children love doodling and it can still be recycled afterwards. You can also use paper for all kinds of other Blue Peter-style activities.

4)    Old newspapers can be turned into cat litter by shredding it, soaking in washing detergent and baking soda to give it odour-eating properties, then leaving to dry before adding to the tray. It can either be used by itself or mixed with regular kitty litter, either way saving you money at the same time as reducing wastage.

5)    The next time you send something in the post, whether it’s a gift for a friend or something you’ve sold over eBay, use old newspaper and magazines as packaging. The recipient can then either reuse or recycle it at their end, so it’s the best of both worlds. (Make sure not to use confidential records, like bank statements.)

6)    By applying some creativity, you can use old newspapers, magazines and other printed materials as wrapping paper. This can work especially well when tied up with good old-fashioned string to give it that charming handmade look.

7)    Wobbly table? A piece of paper folded a few times will sort it out, plus you’ll be the hero of the party!


That’s just a handful of suggestions. There are all kinds of ways to reduce the amount of paper you use and we’d love to hear your ideas, so please do tweet them to @Recycling_Bins.


Newspaper Origami Dragon Monster Credit: on Flickr