Green Uses for Packing Paper

If you are like me, you would rather see a product get re-used rather than putting it in mysterious "single-stream" recycable bin.  And, lately, my fiancee, Jessie, and I have been receiving a crazy amount of wedding gifts (thanks, by the way!) which come loaded with an abundance of packing paper.  So, I have been wondering what to do with all of it.  Here are a few practical ways to recycle your old packing paper.

1.  Washin' Windows
Packing paper is an excellent alternative to paper towels for washing your windows.  Many people use black and white pages from their old newspapers.  While this works, I find a sheet of packing paper more durable than the former. 

2.  Weed Liner
If you are starting a raised garden this year, throw down a sheet or two of packing paper in order to prevent weeds from growing into your fresh top soil.  This way of recycling is not harmful to the earth, because packing paper will decompose over time.  But, until it does, it acts as a great defense for your garden.  I would suggest layering about 8"-10" of top soil over two or three layers of packing paper.

3.  Wrapping PaperGift WrappedCredit: Zen Hess
My dad used to wrap birthday presents in newspaper.  He did it primarily because his gifts were always a bit last minute, but it inspired this third way of recycling packing paper.  The best part is (at least from a guys perspective) that packing paper is less likely to rip and tear as easily as wrapping paper.

4.  Packing Paper
Let's be realistic, we all ship something sooner or later!  Jessie and I are saving boxes and wrapping paper for when we need to ship something or when we move out of this house.  To save space, break boxes down and put your flattened and folded packing paper into the boxes and store them wherever!

5.  Painting Sheets
The long style sheets Jessie and I have been receiving are perfect for lining against the floorboards to protect your floors from paint splatter.  Keep a few sheets around and store them with your painting gear for your next project.

6.  Fire Starter
It is summertime, which means bonfires!  Whatever paper you have left works great to start your next fire. 

Remember, after you use the paper again, it can still be recycled (except for option 6, of course!).  Don't be tempted to throw your torn-up paper into the trash.  Happy Recycling!