reducing paper waste

A few years back when I saw these notebooks made from recycled paper on Martha, I loved the idea right away.  And although I haven’t ever made the actual project featured on Martha’s show, it got me thinking about ways to conserve and re-use paper in our home, both to save money and reduce waste.  With Earth Day tomorrow, I thought I’d share how that project sparked a method that has now become routine for our family.
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Underneath our computer desk sits a stack of copy paper.  Only one side of the paper has been used.  Much of this paper came from my teaching files when I sorted through them two years ago, so that gave us a good jump start on our supply.  Other places to gather paper from:

  • Workplace
  • Junk mail
  • Notes and homework sent from school
  • Friends and relatives

*Paper with private information like names, addresses, social security numbers, etc. is burned or shredded—we never put it in the re-use pile.
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Everyone in the family uses our stack of one-sided paper for their paper needs unless it’s something that needs to be on pristine new paper (i.e., a report for school, an important letter, etc.).  Our kids each have their own sketchbooks for drawings and artwork they want to keep.  Everything else goes on the re-used paper.  Some things I regularly print on our recycled paper are:

  • Monthly grocery lists
  • Chore lists
  • Recipes from the internet
  • Maps/directions
  • Rough drafts

Basically, if the item is going to have a one-time short-term use, or a non-public long term use, it goes on re-used paper.
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One-side-used paper is always sits ready in the printer.  If we need plain new paper, it’s within arm’s reach.
Since starting to re-use our paper, we go through just 1 or 2 reams of new paper a year.  It’s great knowing that not only are we saving money, but we’re also cutting down on the amount of paper waste generated by our family.
How do you re-use paper or reduce paper waste?

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