Repurposed real estate signs will soon be popping up in classrooms and workplaces around the country.

Tauranga's Environmental Education and Resource Sustainability Trust is using the signs to make recycling bins for schools and workplaces around the country to collect paper and cardboard for recycling.

Chairman Marty Hoffart said the trust's Paper4trees programme began in Tauranga and has spread to 4000 schools around the country, with 50,000 recycling boxes nationwide.

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He sends out about 2500 boxes each year to schools at a cost of about $10 each box.

"I'm always looking at stuff thinking 'I bet that doesn't have to go to recycling'," Mr Hoffart said.

"I was looking at those real estate signs thinking they would make great recycling boxes for schools."

Mr Hoffart bought a plastic filing box and pulled it apart and discovered it was almost exactly the same size as a regular real estate sign, roughly 900mm by 1200mm.

He made a pattern which wasted only a small amount of material, a bit off the corner.

Now, Mr Hoffart's challenge is making the boxes quickly and efficiently. He could make three or four an hour.

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He has talked to Corrections about getting help from the people serving community sentences and was hopeful of a positive result.

Mr Hoffart took his idea to Eves and branch manager Craig Hilton jumped on board.

"Reusing is always better than recycling," Mr Hoffart said.

Mr Hilton said Eves had jumped on board both as an avenue to reuse the signs and as a way to support a worthy community project.