The last day of school brings home piles of books, papers, and leftover school supplies from the year. They’ve been worn, torn, and beaten, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be recycled and used again. Here are some items to take a second look at so you can save scraps, reuse, and save money.
Rip out unused paper from notebooks that don’t have enough to last another school year. Use the remaining paper and loose-leaf.
Use cardboard backing and covers to create gift boxes, decorate as frames, use as canvas, make ornaments, or make a homemade book cover.
Straighten and rebend notebook spiral metal to refashion as jewelry, paperclips, wine glass charms, or napkin holders.
Use old cardboard file cabinet dividers.
Use cardboard in gardening as plant labels and to extend and improve mulch work. Cardboard helps soil retain moisture and adds helpful organic material.
Worksheets and Notepaper
Using used paper, learn to make your own homemade paper.
Go through worksheets and notes and look for blank gaps that could be cut out and reused as scrap and note paper to write down messages, notes, and phone numbers.
Use old paper to create a papier-mâché project.
Learn how to melt down old, broken crayons and make crayon candles.
Melt down crayons of the same color or mix colors. Use molds to make new fun shapes.
If you have a multitude of broken pencils, use the wood as compost.
Use graphite to loosen keys in stubborn locks or fix a stuck zipper.
If you have a good pencil but no eraser, invest in an eraser cap or substitute a rubber band.
Remove the ink from the pen and recycle the rest of the body normally.
Markers and Highlighters
Instead of throwing away dried up markers, try adding water to reuse them as watercolors.
Recycle the plastic parts.
Keep marker caps for crafts or toys.
Declutter your desk by washing out old glue bottles and using them to store craft and office supplies like beads, tacks, needles, paperclips, or staples.
Use folders as cardstock and make homemade greeting cards to catch up on birthday wishes and thank yous.
Cut out strips to create easy bookmarks.
Sacrifice a little tape to repair easy tears and reuse folders to organize your home or to go back to school.
Instead of buying new picture folders, make an old folder more interesting and stable by using magazines and pictures to collage the outside. Cover the entire folder with glue to dry clear for strong finish.