Monday, January 21, 2008
Another Way To Recycle Paper
Hi everyone! It's C again. Don't you just love CK's and Fancy's new green blog? I sure can't get enough of it! ;)
I was just looking at the heaps of paper (newspapers, flyers, handouts, brochures, etc) that are in our office. Though I am a firm believer in recycling, I also believe that recycling should be the last "R" out of the 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). As Fancy had mentioned in her last post, it takes energy to recycle (plastic bottles, paper, glass, and aluminum cans). Not only do recycling plants require the usage of energy, but there are by-products from the process of recycling as well. It's a good option, but in my opinion, not our first option.
Of course, you can be smart like my mother-in-law, and request that the post office not send you any flyers, catalogues or "junk mail". I have to admit, I am terrible that way. I actually love perusing the flyers to see what's on special or just for the sake of looking at things I may or may not be interested in purchasing.
When I was 13, I began to get worried about our environment. I visited a recycling plant with my school and saw mountains and mountains of paper to be recycled. What alarmed me the most was the sheer volume of paper! I decided that I would try to make my own paper to cut down on the amount of paper waste in our household. Of course, my little effort would only be a drop in the bucket in terms of reducing paper waste. In our house, we also reused paper. We had a bin of "scrap paper" that was used for notes, working out math problems, etc.
Anyway, my thought was...Why not turn this:
To make your own paper, all you need is:
-paper of all sorts (computer paper, newspaper, flyers, even bits of magazines can work...just watch out of the ink used on the paper because they can bleed or make your paper look grey if you choose newsprint)
-a screen, framed by wood would be ideal (if you can get an old window screen, that works well)
-liquid starch (optional...and I've used cornstarch before)
-a basin or tub
First, tear up little shreds of paper and put about a handful into your blender. You need to fill the blender with WARM water and then start to blend on low. You can go on a higher/faster speed later on when the paper pulp looks like it has started to blend well (when it's no longer "lumpy"). To make things even more unique or to add your own personal touch to your paper, you can add in some flower petals or leaves. A little greenery is always pretty. If you are using liquid starch, add it in next. Mix well.
Next, pour your pulp over your screen and press so that the water drains from your paper. When you've gotten the excess water out, remove your handmade paper from the screen and lay it to dry on something that will absorb the water. I've used newspaper or a towel. Some people hang the sheets on a clothesline or use a hairdryer to dry them faster.
The end result is beautiful handmade paper. It's a fun activity to do with your kids (or in my case, with my students). Not only will you be creating something beautiful that can in turn be reused (they make pretty cards and are great for scrapbooking), you will be teaching your kids about reusing, recycling and how to tread lightly on the earth we live on.
(Images borrowed from Google Images)