How to Repurpose Your Old Phonebooks into Eco-Friendly Building Materials

How to Repurpose Your Old Phonebooks into Eco-Friendly Building Materials

How to Repurpose Your Old Phonebooks into Eco-Friendly Building Materials

Old phonebooks may seem obsolete in our digital age, but they can be repurposed into eco-friendly building materials. Here’s how to give your old phonebooks new life while reducing waste.

Gather and Prepare Phonebooks

The first step is collecting phonebooks and preparing them for repurposing.

  • I ask neighbors, friends, and local businesses to save their old phonebooks for me. Many are happy to pass them along rather than send them to the landfill.

  • I also check with libraries, doctor’s offices, and other places that receive a lot of phonebooks. They may have extras to give away.

  • Once I have a good stack of phonebooks, I remove any plastic covers or bindings. This helps the paper lie flat for the next steps.

  • I cut the phonebook pages into strips about 2 inches wide to make them easier to work with.

Make Paper Bricks

Phonebook paper can be compressed into sturdy bricks. Here’s how I do it:

  • I fill an aluminum loaf pan about halfway with water and bring it to a boil on the stove.

  • I dip the phonebook paper strips into the hot water for just a couple seconds to dampen them.

  • I place the damp strips into a brick mold, pressing down firmly. I can fit 2-3 layers of paper strips into a standard brick mold.

  • After filling the mold, I place a piece of wood on top and clamp it down tightly.

  • The paper bricks are left clamped overnight to dry. In the morning, I remove the sturdy brick from the mold.

  • For weatherproofing, I apply a layer of clear urethane. Two coats seals them against moisture.

Use Paper Bricks for Building Projects

The DIY paper bricks can be used like regular bricks for many building projects:

  • They work great for making garden paths, steps, and decorative landscaping features. The bricks won’t rot or degrade like wood.

  • I’ve used them to build a small fire pit surround in my backyard. They stand up to heat better than expected.

  • In workshop projects, I’ve made storage cubbies, bookcases, and workbenches from the bricks paired with basic lumber.

  • For kids’ crafts, these bricks are perfect for building model walls and structures. My son loves designing castles and forts from them.

Benefits of Repurposing Phonebooks

Some key benefits of reusing phonebooks as brick building materials:

  • It keeps a large amount of paper out of landfills. Phonebooks tend to pile up unused.

  • The DIY bricks are extremely durable and weather resistant compared to their lightweight paper composition.

  • Using items that would otherwise be discarded is a sustainable and eco-friendly choice.

  • The bricks can be made for free if you source discarded phonebooks, so they are very budget-friendly.

With a little creativity, those unused phonebooks sitting around can be transformed into functional bricks. It’s a great way to reuse and repurpose rather than having them take up space in a landfill. Give it a try for your next building project!