How can I reuse or recycle the spiral of a spiral bound notebook?

Spiral notebookWe’ve had an email from Emma, asking:

How can I recycle the spine from a spiral-bound notebook?

We’ve already covered plastic spines so let’s assume that Emma means the metal ones – because, well, I’ve got a couple lying around from old reporters pads after I’ve recycled the paper part.

A lot of pads are like the plastic ones – almost like teeth of metal (if that makes sense) rather than a spiral – and I suspect they’ll be harder to reuse because they can’t just be uncoiled.

So suggestions?

(Photo by mcconnell6)

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23 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle the spiral of a spiral bound notebook?”


  1. Bobbie says:

    I think that they could be used to make a very nice wind chime. Use the spiral to hang a bell from it or a crystal ornament.

  2. Due to their flexibility, how about turning a few into a flower shaped sculpture that you could then ‘plant’ in a pot… would make an interesting garden ornament perhaps

  3. Jeff says:

    I am a bit cynical and have been accused of being quite the cumudgen for a 40 year old. That being said, why not put it into the normal steel recycling system? The two answers to your question so far fail to see the obvious due to their “need” to do something with the spiral other than conventional recycling. Idealism gives us “green thinkers” a bad name. Again, if you don’t need it, put it in the steel bin at the recycling center.

    • veggieme says:

      Jeff,
      Do you know if you can you leave the spiral thing on, if your town recycles paper and metals together?

      Terri

    • Renee L says:

      Why would you be on a website for “creative ideas for reusing and recycling random stuff” if you think everyone should just recycle it with the rest of their steel? The fact is, it’s a flexible wire and is great for crafts. Reuse first, recycle second.

      • Alika says:

        I see what you mean, Renee, but my concern is that so many of these suggestions involve arts & crafts projects. That in itself isn’t bad, but is also not practical for those of us who don’t devote our free time to arts & crafts.

        Arts & crafts are great, but pretty much any durable good can be reused as a crafts project. I’d be interested in hearing of some more outside-the-box reuse solutions. :-)

  4. Isabel says:

    Why don’t you try to make some art work with it. it may be fun and cool…use another materials that can be recycled to complement it!

  5. Sara says:

    Take the paper out of it and composite it. Don’t stick the cover or the spine in there, though! Guess you can doodle on the cover and play with the spine while the paper decomposes.

    Oh! I got one! Cut the pages in half and use them to write grocery lists. You can staple them onto the cover (or at least most of them, kinda thick, huh?) and attach on end of the swirly spine to the cover and the other to a pen with super glue. Cheapo stationary!

  6. twinks says:

    Hmm, kinda wants to be an organizer methinks! Lay it horizontally on a small piece of reuseable wood (could be a scrap or left over trim for ex) and nail/staple/wire the thing onto the wood. It becomes a spiral doohickie to hold thing-me-bobs like brushes/utensils/pencils etc etc.

  7. Uncle J says:

    Erm… make new empty pages, and refill?
    (Instead of buying new notebook)

  8. mormonsim says:

    cut to length and use it to hangpictures or other wall crafts.YOu can leave some curly for a unique effect or straighten it and hide it behind the craft or picture.

  9. Gulia says:

    Cut with wire cutters. Make jewelry.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I saw a recyled garden scupture once where curly notebook wire was attached to the head for curly hair-looked fun.

  11. Susie Greengeans says:

    In the US, I foud a DIY web site that showed using several spirals to make an art piece bowl. We are making tghem in my art class May 2 in the local library. We will streatch & bend them, wrap stones, trinkets, beaqds, glas, ribbons, etc. into it as well. Then they will be presses into a bowl for shaping. A great way to use broken jewelry, shells & other items around the house.

  12. Laura says:

    I clicked on http://www.ecocycle.org and it says you can throw the binders in your recycle bin with the metal binder attached to it.
    They ask that you rip plastic front covers off and dispose of properly and hard cardboard back covers go into your cardboard recycle bin.
    When the paper notebook is being turned to mush at the recycling center the wire will separate from the paper (just like staples do) and will get strained out of the screening process.

  13. Nancy says:

    I know how it can be hard to recycle it. I do a lot of crafts with what I have, but even that usually can’t use all of it up. Plus, if you overbend or bend it too many times it becomes a bit inflexible and can eventually snap. It is also hard to completely straighten, and it tarnishes, so I’m trying to figure out how to make my stuff last longer and look less cheap ;D
    One idea that still is quite crafty but maybe more useful is if you bike a lot–like I do–and use it as more a mode of transportation than recreation, then you know how hard it is to carry large items (ei groceries) without an attached basket. I’ve seen recycled baskets using wire and bottle caps, and I think sufficient wire would make a great basket.
    You might also be able to make your own paperclips–I have not tried but it should work, providing you have a small dexterous pair of pliers. Then you don’t even have to buy more!

  14. janesoi says:

    I agree with Alika, Arts and Crafts have their place, I myself love making things but reusing materials for arts and crafts should not be classed as “recycling”. It is a poor justification to buy or accept overpackaged/disposable/non-recyclable items as reusable in non-essential arts and crafts projects. Best use for old spiral binds that I can think of is wire, maybe for use with food growing projects. But my rule is, can’t recycle it in a meaningful way, don’t buy it.

    • louisa says:

      I see your and Alika’s points and recognise that there are some “recycling” projects that are just a case of buying something new and using it for a purpose other than what was originally intended. That’s not recycling. But if you have something that would otherwise be going in the bin, and you use that for arts and crafts, then it is recycling – it’s being reused and it’s potentially stopping people having to be something new-new too.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I saw an idea on craftzine for this – You use shorter lengths of them to wrap around household cables to keep them tidy. You would have to cut them with pliers or tuff cuts.

  16. Olia says:

    Make neat bracelet.

  17. Olia says:

    The spiral can be wrapped around the top of a pencil holder cup for extra decoration.

  18. Olia says:

    Stretch the spiral, attach ribbons to the edges and use as hairband.

  19. ALICE says:

    I think I will try to thread beads onto a spiral spine and then join the ends together to make a bracelet…I do like the idea of using the spiral to keep some of my computer cords under control as well.



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