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What is Recycled Paper Used for?

Updated on June 24, 2013

What Is Recycled Paper Used For?

We all hear about how important it is to recycle items. From aluminum soda cans and glass bottles to plastic food containers and cardboard boxes, we know that items can be recycled for reuse to help preserve the planet. Recycled paper has thousands of uses in the world, saving thousands of acres of forests. All you have to do is place paper waste into a recycling receptacle rather than a trash can- and the paper's journey through the recycling process begins. Once you set the paper into the correct recycling bin, it is then transported to a recycling facility. Here, the paper is broken down, sanitized, and prepared for reuse. Since paper begins as a pasty substance, it can be recycled, formed, dried, and used many times. After a few cycles, the paper begins to disintegrate and can no longer be used. But just what is recycled paper used for???


Using Recycled Paper for Egg Cartons

One of the most notable items recycled paper is used for is egg cartons. These cartons are perfect for recycled paper, as the material is very strong and provides fragile eggs with a sturdy and secure storage container. If you look closely at an egg carton, you will notice the rugged appearance; it is made up of thousands of bits of different types of paper. It is incredibly thick and strong!


Pet Bedding: Recycled Paper Can be Used for Pet Hygiene

If you own a pet, whether it be a cat, dog, rabbit, rat, hamster, or ferret, you probably have a use for bedding. Cats and kittens need litter material, and many different types of recycled paper can be used for a healthy clay alternative. It is safe for the cat, non-toxic, clean, biodegradable, and environmentally friendly. The recycled paper bedding is also good for dog houses, and it will not harm the ground should it be kicked out of the dog house. As for other small animals that stay in cages, you do not have to worry about the animals eating the recycled paper when it is used in their cages. Recycled paper can be used as a highly absorbent bedding, compounding its usefulness for animal lovers.

Have You Ever Used Recycled Paper Bedding?

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Paper Recycling Centers Across the Country

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A markerNashville Recycling -
707 19th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37208, USA
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B markerSan Francisco Recycling -
2370 Jerrold Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94124, USA
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C markerNew York City Recycling -
139 Plymouth Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
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D markerHouston Recycling -
6810 Irvington Boulevard, Houston, TX 77022, USA
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E marker Miami Recycling -
2120 Northwest 14th Avenue, Miami, FL 33142, USA
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F markerInkster Recycling -
29131 Michigan Avenue, Inkster, MI 48141, USA
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G markerOmaha Recycling -
7202 North 16th Street, Omaha, NE 68112, USA
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H markerSalt Lake City Recycling -
2950 West 900 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84104, USA
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Using Recycled Paper for Hospital Gowns

Believe it or not, recycled paper can actually be used for hospital gowns! This is perhaps the most unlikely guess you would have made when you were contemplating "what is recycled paper used for?". Hospital gowns can either be made of flexible recycled paper or fabrics, with many doctors offices using recycled paper gowns. Since many small doctors offices do not have laundry facilities, this is much more convenient. For hospitals and emergency rooms, fabric gowns are much more convenient since they can be reused several times.

Newspapers: A Great Way to Use Up Recycled Paper

Newspapers might not be as common as they once were, and this is due to the ever growing digital age. Now, many turn to the internet and television to hear local and national news, as well as weather. While newspapers have dropped in popularity, they are still widely consumed. They are of a lower grade of paper; this means that they are a prime candidate for reused paper. Since paper ranges in quality depending on the length of the fibers within the paper, higher quality items cannot be made from recycled paper. The more paper is recycled, the short the fibers get. Newspapers are printed daily and generate a lot of paper waste; printers eventually realized the cost effective and environmentally friendly benefits of recycling far outweigh the benefits of using higher quality paper.

Manufacturing Cardboard Boxes with Recycled Paper

When one asks "What is recycled paper used for?", many of us first think of cardboard boxes. Since this was already one of the more well known uses for recycled paper, we're not going to put this one up high in the list. However, recycling paper for the production of cardboard boxes is incredibly wise and makes a huge environmental impact. Nearly everything we consume is shipped in cardboard boxes! From food and toiletry items to clothing and even other paper products, cardboard is without a doubt one of the most widely used paper products.


Recycling Paper for Tissues and Paper Towels

How often do you use tissues when your nose runs, or paper towels when you wash your hands? The answer is probably quite often. Thanks to recycling, these paper products do not have a huge impact on our forests. The paper that is used for tissues and paper towels tends to be incredibly soft and fine. This is because the paper fibers are very short and weakened. For tissues, strength generally is not a big concern, as they are used for gift wrapping, runny noses, and skin care. This is usually the last time the paper within these items will be recycled, as the fibers will be much too weak for another recycling process.

Using Recycled Paper for Insulation

When you get hot or cold during the changing seasons, you probably make use of your central heat and air unit. While this helps us to stay comfortable no matter the time of year, it would not be very effective without an insulated building. Insulation serves to keep the temperature of a building from becoming the same as the outdoors; saving us money and keeping our heat and air units from burning up. Some homes are insulated with fiberglass, while others have made use of the insulation benefits of paper products. Recycled paper is an incredible choice for insulation, and it is becoming a much more common sight with the green revolution that our culture is currently undergoing.

Check out this incredible paper mache man! It looks like a genuine statue! How unbelievable is that?
Check out this incredible paper mache man! It looks like a genuine statue! How unbelievable is that? | Source

Arts and Crafts with Recycled Paper

Recycling paper does not always have to involved a recycling plant; it can happen right at home! Old paper can be used in a variety of crafts, offering a cheap solution when it comes to crafty kids. Paper Mache is a childhood classic with kids who love art! They can creative amazing three dimensional sculptures. This artwork can also become functional. Paper mache can even be used to make furniture!


Gardening with Recycled Paper

For plants, recycled paper can be used to create planters, seed starter cups, and much more. When you purchase plants from your local gardening store, you may notice that the paper planters that they come in are recycled paper. This allows for the plants to be directly planted without having to be removed from the planters. With the billions of plants that are started and sold every year, this method of containing them is much more easy going on our trees. If you are a gardener, you are probably guilty of buying dozens of plants every year; now, think about the millions of hobbyist gardeners across the world. The impact of switching from plastic planters to recycled paper planters can make a huge difference in how much plastic we are currently using, while offering yet another purpose for recycling paper.


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    • angryelf profile image

      angryelf 4 years ago from Tennessee

      I definitely hear you! But at least we know it's safe :) We probably shouldn't think about it or we might NEVER use a Kleenex again LOL!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Almost endless possibilities for recycling paper and it takes so little effort on our part. I always wonder just a bit about recycled tissue and paper towels...I know, I know.....they are processed to be sanitary and all but it still is a little bit of a bother to me.

      Angels are on the way...thanks for sharing this with us. ps