Homemade recycled paper

I try to be “green” where I can: I separate my cardboard and paper items from the rest of my trash; I take home my groceries in the same cloth bags each week; I carry around a sturdy, reusable water bottle instead of buying a bottle of Poland Springs every day; and I’m in the process of changing out my old incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs, which will not only save energy, but hopefully save me some hard-earned cash.  I’m certainly not about to risk my life to hug a tree, but I do what I can to make sure there will be a nature available for my children.

I have long been disgusted by the amount of junk that comes in my mail slot each day.  Surely, the ever-increasing pile of flyers and coupons that insists itself upon me each week must come from at least two trees.  That’s over one hundred trees each year that ends up in my foyer.  That knowledge does not sit well with me in any small way.  So, in a rare moment of not sitting idly by, I decided to do something about it: with the apartment to myself one weekend (when all my best work takes place), I took my greenery one step further by attempting to make my own recycled paper.

Making one’s own recycled paper is actually quite easy to do, is not terribly costly, messy or time consuming, and leaves one with the satisfaction of doing a good deed.  Fortunately, most everything I needed for the project could be found in and around my home: an old sheet, a blender, a small tub, a sponge, some towels, duct tape and a pile of junk mail.  The only thing I needed to purchase was a small screen, which cost next to nothing.  I used a fantastically detailed photo tutorial, which cleared up any questions or uncertainties I may have had.  I highly recommend you check it out; at the very least, you will learn what goes into the process of paper making in one’s kitchen.

I am still experimenting with thickness and drying techniques (my current favorite is slapping the paper against a sliding glass door, creating a very smooth texture on one side), but I am extremely pleased with the results of my first attempt.  My recycled paper has a delightful “recycled” texture, and is flecked with bits of junk mail and copies of copies of sheet music for which I will never find another use.  This paper can totally be written upon, and at about six by nine inches large is just the right size to make into a card.  I have already sent a note to my mother on one; with any luck, she will recycle it, as well…or, at least give it back to me so that I can make some more paper, send her another card, and keep the vicious cycle of recycling cycling.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. that girl
    Aug 10, 2008 @ 00:34:45

    What a great suggestion. I’ve been doing a lot of recycling, but this is such a clever idea. I don’t use my blender and maybe this is a good way to put it to work. 🙂


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