If you haven’t picked up on the reusing trend already, then paper could be your gateway material. We use it every day whenever we write on notepads, read books (those still published on paper, at least), read newspapers and magazines or receive mail. We are surrounded by paper, and luckily for us, it’s recyclable. But why not reuse it instead?
The easiest way to reuse paper is to make little notepads out of your still-usable paper waste. You can go through your class handouts and assignments at the end of the term and sort out the sheets you won’t need anymore. Cut them into identical squares and bind them with a paperclip. Or, if you have a little cardboard box on hand, you can create your own notepad box. If you put some extra effort in and decorate the box, it could be turned into a gift for a friend who uses notepads regularly.
If you want to go for more long-term items, you can create your own basket or gift bag out of old magazines or newspapers. Simply rip out around 10 pages (depending on the size of the newspaper or magazine and your preferred basket shape) and cut them lengthwise into one-inch-wide strips. Fold them into thirds (again, lengthwise) to make them sturdier, and then weave them into the basket base size that you need.
Before you start weaving, you should decide on the size and shape of the basket. While gift bags for a bottle of wine need a small base and a longer body, a wide gift basket needs more strips for the base and fewer strips for the body. And, in general, the bigger the basket, the longer the strips have to be, so you can glue strips together to add length.
Then take around 20 of the strips and start weaving from the centre outward, leaving equally long ends on all sides. You can add dots of glue to help hold your woven strips together if you like. When you’ve reached your desired base size, just bend the ends of your strips into an upright position (90 degrees straight up from your base) and continue weaving new strips in circles around the base to get a basket shape. When you’ve reached your desired height, cut off the ends of the strips that are sticking out and cover the rim of the basket with tape or a nice ribbon. Voila! You’ve just created a stylish, eco-friendly, homemade gift basket.
Before throwing away any kind of paper, think about how you can still use it to fold funny things such as paper airplanes, flowers or boats to spice up plain gift wrap. You can even cut out crowns or snowflakes for seasonal party or dinner table decorations.
If you have some good tips of your own, just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictures of Eco Tips realizations are definitely welcomed as well!