Monday, October 6, 2008

The Shredded Paper Dilemma

Like all good mildly paranoid people we shred a lot of the mail we get like credit card offers and things with our bank account numbers. This leaves us with the problem of what do with all that shredded paper. According to mom’s obscure knowledge of recycling rules you can’t recycle shredded paper. We’d compost it except dad won’t let us because he’s worried about the chemicals. So burning it seems like one of our only useful options (of course in the winter when you have a fire going anyway you can skip the shredding phase and go straight to burning it).

The only problem is that throwing handfuls of shredded paper into a fire is a little unwieldy so we came up with the idea of stuffing paper towel and toilet paper rolls with the shredded paper to make mini logs.

(The ingredients.)

(This would be a good use of child labor...I mean...a good activity for young children.)

(The finished product.)

Since we’ve started using the stove we’ve had a chance to test our shredded paper logs and the consensus is iffy. They don’t make great kindling but they burn fine once the stove is going.

This brings me to my heating challenge which my family has reluctantly agreed to (and by that I mean that I told them about it and they grumbled something under their breath which I took as consent). I’m curious how long we can go without using the oil heat and set an optimistic date of November 1st. This may not sound like much but the lows around here are already getting down to the high 30’s.

For heat this leaves us with: one small woodstove, one hot water bottle, one oven in which to bake things for which we may “accidentally” preheat the oven rather early and three cats of varying agreeableness. But one problem remains: the basement (where I happen to reside) which doesn’t particularly benefit from the woodstove. Luckily the basement stays a lot warmer then anywhere else so we’ll see how it goes.


  1. Very cool idea!


    I love it!

    We use our shredded paper as bedding for our hens. I like what you came up with though.

    I posted more of that story start that I wrote. I'd love to hear what you think of it.

  2. My family delivers papers and we roll up the leftovers to use as "logs" for the fireplace. Haven't used real wood except for Christmas in years. Good luck with the project!

  3. If you are creative there are perks to every job. Very nice idea. On a simliar note: someone recently needed to have a lot of shredding done and after I unsuccesfully attempted to do it with my paper shredder we opted instead to just throw it all in the woodstove in the garage.

  4. Fantastic solution! Shredded paper can be troublesome sometimes, especially when you don’t know how to dispatch of it. But what I do is I make it a filler for my throw pillows instead of purchasing some cotton.