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:

into 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)
-a blender
-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)


Fancy said...

That is so cool! We'll have to try it!!!

PinksandBluesGirls said...

LOVE these tips, C! I'm gonna have to start recycling some paper of my own!

Jane, Pinks & Blues

Francisca said...

Those are great tips. But one thing that annoys me (not about the post of course, because I love them) is the fact that recycled paper is so expensive. If it was cheaper people would buy it more and that way we were helping the environment, but since the price is two times as much as normal paper, the rest of us buy the normal one because its more affordable. I love your tips Fancy!

C said...

I think your The Girl would have fun doing this! :)

Thanks! The handmade paper is fun to make and they really do make pretty cards and note paper. Just be careful of what kind of pens/markers you use if you're going to write on them, because sometimes the colour bleeds.

I totally agree with you. Recycled paper does cost more than regular paper! Just like a lot of other recycled things. They're always so much more expensive.

Another thing that's more expensive is "organic" produce. My aunt only buys organic, even though it costs more. I just use my produce, and the only thing I use in my garden to ward off pests is a solution of water/vinegar or water/garlic or water/dishsoap.

C. K. said...

Oh this is GREAT, C! Making your own paper is an AWESOME IDEA!!! (*applause*)