Recycling paper

Confession: I’m a big fan of recycling, but selfish enough to insist that the process not be too laborious and complicated. When I have to start rinsing, sorting, and removing labels, I–well, I’m still a big fan in theory, willing myself to duty but growing inadvertently drafty.

My town of Meadville makes it easy—accepting clear and colored glass, all cardboard, and all plastics numbered 1-7, jumbled together in one handy home bin. Now that I like!

The issue still complicated and sporadic for me was recycling paper. We are asked to tie it up into a bundle with string and place it on top of our recycling bin.

I am sorry to say that our family goes through a lot of paper—junk mail, completed math sheets, craft projects, old forms, meeting agendas, newspapers, and magazines. Once I started trying to recycle it, I found it gathering in large, messy stacks, waiting to be tied up, toppling over now and then just to add a little sparkle to life.

So I made myself a little box to gather it all in. Here’s how.

1. Find an empty copy paper box—or any box of similar size.


2. Cut a half-inch slit into the top center of each side.


3. Take two long pieces of string or twine and cross them over each other, wedging firmly into the slits.


4. Press string down into bottom of box.

5. Store in an accessible place, such as a pantry or closet.

6. Toss in junk paper anytime you find some.


7. After two weeks (or whenever recycling is due), tie the dangling ends into a knot, and your bundle is done.

8. Cut new strings for the box and start gathering again.

Believe it or not, we can fill this bin about every two weeks.

Happy recycling!


Do you recycle, or maybe reuse? What tips do you have to share?

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10 years ago

A friend of mine reuses letter-size paper for personal notes and drawing stock for his children. If it has a blank quarter on one side, it’s still good to go!

10 years ago
Reply to  Not the Boss

Does his name happen to be Amos? 😉

10 years ago
Reply to  Shaunda

Ha! No.

10 years ago
Reply to  Shari Zook

My silence protects the innocent.

10 years ago

When I started keeping a recycling container (a reusable shopping bag hanging next to the trash bin) in the kitchen, I was amazed at how fast our recycling bin filled and how slowly our trash can accumulated. Our household trash now fits into one 70-litre bag a week, and it’s often less than that. One big incentive to recycle where we live is that we pay to have our trash bin emptied, but the recycling bin is emptied free of charge.

10 years ago

Nifty idea with making paper bundles. For us, we are trying something new this year with our paper products. We are shredding our paper and storing it in plastic bags and will be using it for mulch this year in our garden. We have many, many bags of shredded junk mail, newspaper, leftover FB catalogs, cereal boxes, used paper, and more. As “the Boss” said, we do use paper that is printed on one side again before we shred it. We hope this recycling of our paper works well for mulching. Check back after the season to find out if it did or not.

10 years ago

Nifty idea. I shred my non-glossy paper for mulch. my father has recycled used envelopes for years for scratch and note paper.

10 years ago

Awesome idea!

This is so weird. Ryan & I were just talking about recycling over breakfast. 🙂

Do you know of a place in Meadville you can take your recycling? (We don’t have curbside pick-up.)

10 years ago
Reply to  Renee Shafer

Yes! West Mead offers a drop-off station just off of South Morgan, by the city buildings. The address is 1152 Morgan Village Rd. We used to drop off there before getting curbside.

10 years ago

very clever!

10 years ago

I’m like you–really liking the concept, but getting a little lazy once recycling takes too much effort. As much as I can[easily do], I try to reuse or re-purpose, then recycle, then pitch. My friend told me about a zero waste family. I haven’t looked through their website, yet; but I would like to sometime. You might find new ideas:

10 years ago

Oh, and very clever solution to the paper recycling mess.

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