5 ideas to upcycle paper waste from your office

Deko Eko

April 06, 2021

Your office generates paper waste on a daily basis. No matter how sustainable you are, there are always documents, print-outs, and promotional materials that you need to get rid of. And while many companies shred documents and throw them away, there are better - and far more eco-friendly - ways to deal with paper waste. 

Below we’ll provide you with the following:

- inspiration and examples of products made from used office paper 

- differences between paper recycling and paper upcycling

- the benefits of paper upcycling

Paper recycling vs. paper upcycling -  what’s the difference?

Recycling is often the most popular way to mechanically process waste. Paper or cardboard pulp is mixed with water and then heated. Afterward, the pulp is pressed into sheets, and formed into packaging or any other desired object. 

What’s the outcome?

Instead of incinerating waste and emitting fumes, recycling keeps these resources useful more than once.

It’s worth noting that the efficiency of this method is highly correlated with the type of material. For instance, the caveat of plastic recycling is the phase separation of plastic. That means that polymers "disconnect" and they no longer possess the same features. Therefore, recycling won’t be an ideal method for all kinds of materials.

Upcycling, on the other hand, is a different story. This method refers to reusing the same materials without the addition of new ones. Not only does it help with waste processing, but it also adds value to the products created by the upcycling process. Upcycled projects are usually original items that have different uses. Below, you will find some of the ideas for products made as a result of upcycling.

5 creative paper upcycling ideas 

Since upcycling constitutes a great alternative to recycling, you can start planning your way to implement it.

Where to begin then?

Start with the fact that the ideas for paper upcycling vary a lot. The amount of paper waste that you donated will determine the possibilities, but so will your expectations and needs. If you're looking for new ideas for home or office decor, then paper can be your ally. Paper can also work well for gadgets that you could use for marketing purposes.

Let’s take a look at some of the bulletproof projects created by upcycling experts who cooperate with Deko Eko. Remember, that you can buy these items here


bag made from recycled paper


Colorful bags made from repurposed paper

This colorful bag above, designed by infinity Paper Design, is a fantastic way to upcycle old paper waste from your office. Designed by talented artists, these unusual bags can be used as part of charity projects aimed at supporting women-focused initiatives.


paper-based notebook made from Upcycling


Paper-based notebooks with a genuinely minimalist feeling

This minimalist notebook by Czerpane will look great with your company logo printed on the front page. The grey recycled paper has a minimalist touch to it, and the delicate reflexes of blue and green create a very unique experience - both visual and physical. This is a perfect gift to include in an onboarding package for new employees.


paper basket inspired by Peruvian folk


Useful paper baskets inspired by Peruvian folk

Gadgets such as paper-based baskets by BARBÓRKA Design will be fun to make during company workshops. They can be a cool gadget for office interior (every employee can make their own during the workshops), but they’ll also fit a product made for charity. Alternatively, they can be used as decor for your office.


white paper upcycled lamp


Stylish lamps made from paper pulp

At Deko Eko, our designers utilize donated paper waste and cardboard as a material for a range of beautiful lamps. Thanks to their artistic design, these upcycled lamps will astonish anyone who will see them in your conference rooms or offices.


non-woven and concrete used to make golden platter for fruits


Vases and plates that fit modern interiors

Other elements of office design will be vases and plates. The plate above is made of a combination of non-woven and concrete, where the non-woven fabric is a waste from the manufacturer of wet wipes. This awesome product, created by ekokinga.pl, constitutes a beautifully unique decor element that will suit both offices and homes.

What are the opportunities created through upcycling?

As we established earlier, paper upcycling does not require the industrial scale to “make it work”. It’s an agile technique of waste management, which can be useful after rebranding or when a particular campaign ends. Promotional banners, paper calendars, business cards, and documents can all be used as resources. 

Collecting waste on a daily basis will also be a great way to foster sustainable thinking among your employees. The goal of upcycling is to create additional value through the process of waste management. This is further enhanced by including your teams in the making of the new products. 

Upcycling will also provide you with the unique opportunity to reimagine some of the internal processes in your organization. Upcycled gadgets can be used for onboarding gifts, as well as gadgets are given to your customers. Some of these upcycled goods will decorate your office, meanwhile, others can be used as items for corporate charity events.

The options are numerous!

Over to you

Are you ready to take a step towards sustainable paper waste management? The above products are only examples of items that can be created from paper-based waste from your company. Together with designers and upcycling experts from Deko Eko, you can create your own unique products.

Browse our products here, or get in touch with us.

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