A reader at frugal finance blog Get Rich Slowly suggests shredding your junk mail and using it to mulch your garden. To avoid killing your garden with inks and metals leeching off the shredded paper, the author uses the following guidelines:
- I only shred the non-glossy stuff, and try to avoid coloured ink as much as possible. Since I'm shredding to avoid identity theft in the first place, and credit applications these days contain coloured ink, I can't stay 100% black and white, but I can accept that.
- I shred plastic items like credit cards and CDs separately and discard.
- I only use the shreds where food is not grown, just to be safe. You can also use it in the bottom of flower pots inside the house to save potting soil.
Haven't tried this myself, and I have my doubts about what it looks like after a good rain, but like composting, it's a neat way to recycle paper.