There are a lot of strange ways to make extra money out there, with recycling paper being one of them.
That’s right, you can make money recycling paper.
Now you aren’t going to become an overnight millionaire shredding paper, but you can make more money that you might think.
If you have shredded paper, unused paper and cardboard products sitting around, or have access to getting paper on a regular basis, here are a few ideas on how to make money from shredded paper and turn it into a profitable business.
How To Make Money From Shredded Paper
How Much Money Can You Make From Shredding Paper?
The amount of money recycling paper you make depends on a few factors.
First is your location.
Recycling centers in some parts of the country will pay more than others.
You can call up two different recycling centers in your town and find very different prices.
On top of this, there are recycling centers that don’t even pay cash for paper.
So make sure you find recycling centers that pay.
The last thing you want to do is go to a recycling center only to find out you aren’t going to be making money for recycling paper.
From there, know that different types of paper command different recycling rates.
Cardboard boxes and corrugated cardboard tend to have a lower price than heavy paper used in printing.
Glossy paper, like magazines, as well as newspapers also have lower prices too.
As a general rule, you can expect to make around $75 per ton of recycled paper.
This rate varies but is in line with what you can expect to earn with recycling aluminum and some other scrap metal.
Now that you have an idea of the amount of money you can make, let’s look at how you can start earning it.
#1. Stock Up And Recycle Paper For Cash
The most common method to use when figuring out how to make money from shredded paper is to stock up on your own paper items and look for your nearest recycling center that will accept paper and pay you in return for your supply.
If you have a home business that produces a great deal of paperwork, requires you to use a lot of paper, or you’re simply someone who just produces a lot of paper waste over the course of the year, you could make a decent amount of extra cash.
One important note is to not shred the paper before you go to the recycling center.
The shredded strips of paper tend to jam the recycling machines, so more recycling centers prefer waste paper to be in its original form.
If you do have papers that are already shredded, a simple solution is to staple these papers between two pieces of waste paper so the machine won’t get jammed.
Just know that you might earn a little less cash this way too.
#2. Turn Shredded Paper Into Fuel
Shredded paper is the perfect kindling for those who live in areas where they may not be able to get their hands on other fire-starting tools.
This is especially true if you live in a rural area where campers and hunters may have forgotten certain items that they would be happy to buy from you at a massive discount.
Creating paper bricks, for example, is relatively easy and would sell easily if you can find the right market in your area.
All you have to do is follow a few steps.
First, soak your paper in water, then find a mold or a frame to press the paper together and squeeze the excess moisture out.
Finally, leave your paper bricks out in the sun until they dry.
Then, all you have to do is find some safe place to store them until you find a buyer for some of your inventory.
Another easy option is to take shredded newspaper and other papers and stuff them inside and empty roll of toilet paper to make a kindling log.
When you think creatively, there’s almost always a way to make extra money off of anything, including paper.
#3. Make Paper Starter Pots
Along the same lines as the above comes starter pots.
Many farmers use plastic starter pots when first planting seeds.
But more and more are turning to paper pots as they are more friendly for the environment.
In fact, you can simply plant the paper pot in the ground, making zero waste in the process.
Here is a great tutorial on making them out of newspapers.
#4. Sell Your Shredded Paper To Local Vendors
There are some local vendors who rely on shredded paper and similar items to keep their goods safe as they travel to their buyers.
For example, those who are selling homemade ceramics or glass items may use shredded paper to pad the bottom of the box.
Or they might use the paper to create space between items so that they don’t bang together during the shipping journey and break in the process.
They might even resort to buying the plastic bags that are filled with air to protect their items during shipping.
You can approach these companies with your shredded newspaper that they can use to stuff their packages to protect the items they are shipping.
It may take a great pitch, but the chances are high that there’s no one in your area currently cornering this market.
#5. Turn Your Shredded Paper Into Crafts
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Put simply, your shredded paper doesn’t have to go to waste if you have some creative ideas about what to do with it.
In fact, there are so many ways that you can turn your paper waste and shredded paper into artwork that someone may buy for their own crafts or homes.
Some ideas worth considering include:
- Using your shredded paper for decoupage. Here you use various patterns and colors on canvas or wooden pieces in order to create unique new products that will appeal to certain individuals.
- Make paper-mache. It can be a bit more difficult to pull off this kind of artwork and find a buyer. However, if you can make wonderful creations that won’t break easily or don’t look too cheesy, there’s always a market for everything. In fact, a great business idea is to make pinatas. Many parents have these for their children’s birthday parties. By using recycled paper, t’s a way to make decrease the amount of new paper needed.
- Abstract art. Producing new works of art by combining both hand-drawn items as well as layering with bits of paper or combining the two for something super cool and fun. Your brain is really the only limit when it comes to figuring out how to make money with shredded paper while using your artistic talents.
- Origami. Taking the whole bits of paper and using them to make origami creations that others may use for their own craft projects. With a little bit of patience and some paper that hasn’t been crinkled or ruined, you can turn your paper into flowers, clothing, moving animals, and other things that people would love to own.
- Scarecrows. You can use waste paper and other shredded papers to fill a scarecrow for gardens or any other place you want to keep birds away.
- Chairs. Bean bag chairs are very popular. Instead of stuffing with the plastic foam balls that make up the chair, use paper that has been shredded instead. Just add more paper until you get the support you need.
Shredded paper and scrap paper can be made into a wide variety of new creations that are friendly to the environment.
In addition to helping the environment, you get to make money in the process if you really apply yourself.
#6. Make Recycled Paper To Sell Online
For those who are eco-friendly and want to make paper for journals and other items, there’s a demand for recycled paper.
As long as you have a blender, some shredded paper, a tub, a screen, a rolling pin, and a place in the sun, it’s more than possible to turn your paper into pulp and reform it into whole paper.
You then use it for your own creations or sell online as-is.
Adding a variety of colors and designs can help you vary your options for buyers interested in your wares.
Take some cardboard products to make the cover of your journal and you are set.
Even better, some vendors are now offering completely unique items like papers that are decorated with quotes and cutouts to use for scrapbook or journal pages.
With more and more people looking to buy from sustainable usage businesses, you could make a good profit with this business idea.
#7. Collect Paper From Local Businesses
Visit local businesses, including retail stores and collect their used paper.
In some cases, they might have to pay to recycle paper and by having you take the paper, it’s a win-win.
They can save money by getting rid of it for free and you can earn extra cash.
And chances are they will have various paper types, helping to you maximize the extra cash you earn.
#8. Collect Magazines
Magazines are a great way to increase the amount of money you make recycling paper.
This is because they tend to weigh a lot when you have many issues.
The easiest thing to do is to set your old magazines aside until you have enough to recycle.
Then reach out to friends, co-workers, and neighbors as well.
In fact, you should let everyone you know you collect magazines.
A lot of times people will try to sell old issues at yard sales.
When they don’t sell, the issues go in the trash.
By picking them up, you have another source of inventory for your business.
You could even offer to collect newspapers as well, but with fewer people buying them, you might not have a large base to collect from.
#9. Talk To Local Businesses For Shipping Boxes
Most businesses get a lot of packages on a daily basis.
As a result they have large quantities of cardboard.
You can set a pickup schedule to be weekly or on a monthly basis to pick up and collect the cardboard.
Once you collect enough, you can take it to the recycling center and cash in.
#10. Post Online For Paper Products
Take the above one step further by posting you need for paper online.
Chances are you see people post on local groups about collecting scrap metal.
You can do the same with paper products.
List that you will collect old newspapers, cardboard, and other paper products for free.
This can put your recycling paper business on a large scale.
#11. Offer Mobile Shredding Services
Another side hustle idea is to offer mobile shredding services.
You can go around and offer to shred old bills and other papers for both consumers and businesses.
What you do with the shredded papers is up to you.
You can drop them off at the recycling center or just offer the shredding service and have the user handle disposal of the paper.
As strange as it might sound, you can make money from shredded paper.
The biggest hurdle is figuring out the best way to get started with paper recycling.
I’ve laid out a bunch of ideas, but you might think of more.
As long as you have a large space to store the paper, you can make a steady income with this side hustle.