Article Courtesy Scrapjazz.com: by Georgina Hefferman

As a scrapbooker and card maker, I am fully aware that my hobby uses a lot of pretty paper. Once upon a time I used to create a scrapbook page and then throw the scraps away, whatever their size. I soon realised that this was not only wasting money but wasting precious resources. 

A friend, with whom I attended a crop, made me see sense when she used the pieces I threw away to create a very lovely card. In fact she took the scraps away with her and has been creating gorgeous things ever since with them. It really made me think about what I was wasting, and approach things in a different way.  Now, any scraps I have I use to create cards or I shred them for packaging gifts or sending things in the mail.

Recycling isn't new. Think back to the beginning of mankind - anything and everything would have been reused from turning animal bones into utensils to using animal skins to keep warm. In war time nothing was disregarded as it could be used again.  It really is only modern-day mankind that produces waste to the extent that we do.

Looking at paper specifically, it used to be made from old rags, cotton and such material. It was only in the mid 19th century that trees started to get cut specifically to make paper. As papercrafters we need to take note of this and be more aware of our impact on the environment.

It can be difficult, of course, and does require a little effort but actually it can be really fun and quite the challenge. Check out these previous articles about how you can approach your scrapbooking in a more environmentally friendly way.

I would like, though, to specifically focus on how we can recycle cards. Think about all those cards you receive at Christmas and on birthdays. What do you do with them when your day is over? Do you throw them in the bin without a thought? Do you leave them on the curbside for your local authority to collect and recycle? Do you take them to a store and drop them in a recycling bin?

How about keeping them to reuse instead? There are lots of ways that you can recycle cards and I wanted to share a few ideas with you:

  1. Cut the images off the front of store-bought cards and use them as embellishments for your scrapbook pages.
  2. Use the images for making new cards simply by sticking them onto folded cardstock - kids love to do this at Christmas!  Revive them by adding glitter or paint to change the appearance.
  3. Pierce a hole in the top of cut-out images to create your own unique gift tags.
  4. Take off embellishments from handmade cards that have been sent to you and reuse them on your own projects.
  5. Shred any leftovers and use for creative packaging  or  to send things in the mail.
  6. Use the blank areas in cards as white cardstock. Stamp your own images and cut them out. Use them as journaling blocks on your scrapbook pages.
  7. When sending cards to friends, write on a Post-it note inside them. This way your friend can simply peel the Post-it note out of the card and reuse the card.
  8. Cut your cards into 3" squares and then use them to create a random mosaic effect.  This could be great for a unique background paper or perhaps you could add this to a cork mat , cover with Mod Podge and create a coaster.
  9. Cut the front off greeting cards and use them as postcards.
  10. Cut the images into strips and use as bookmarks.
  11. Use the cardstock with your Cricut machine and create mini gift boxes (tags, bags, boxes and more).
  12. Using a hole punch create lots of little circles and use this as confetti.
  13. Create recipe cards on the back of the images. Maybe you could write your favorite seasonal recipe on the back of a reused Christmas card, for example, and send to your friends next year.
  14. For a great crafty kid's project, cut the images out and glue them onto popsicle sticks. Make your own puppets and get them to put on a puppet show.
  15. I read an article in the news at Christmas, where a couple had been sending the same cards to each other year after year, just writing the date and a new message. They reused the card for over 29 years and are still going! What a lovely, romantic gesture and something to keep for years as a family heirloom.

I hope this gives you some food for thought and some ideas as to how you could reuse all those greeting cards you send and receive.