fun: recycling paper

For Earth day 2013, why not learn a new earth-friendly skill?

With my students I like to recycle paper. It’s a nice activity, and many creative projects can come from it. Journal covers, project paper, you name it!

One of my students said the most interesting thing while we were recycling last time:  “Teacher. We are using water and energy for the blender. Are we really helping the planet?”

I had no comeback. I didn’t think about it until later that night: reuse water from other sources. Also, you don’t have to blend with a electric device. You can crush the pulp. Anyhoo, since a picture is worth … you know… a bunch of words… check out the details below.

This photographic essay is called Barnabas Collins’ Guide to recycling paper. Photos by Mack Mackenzie Smith.

You want me to do WHAT?

Step 1: Conquer your fear of garbage. Find a nice trash site that contains the following paper recycling must-haves:

1) a wire coathanger

2) some form of cheesecloth or hose

3) a bucket

4) a mashing tool

5) sheet plastic





Step 2: Prepare your pulp

Well, I say, this wheel ought to do fine for my motorcar.
My word, some bourgeoise miscreant has done away with a perfectly good electronic organ!
Oh, fine. Let’s see… paper, coat hanger…
No, I’m not going to. I refuse.
You bloody post-consumer paper! Feel my wrath!

1) Rip up your paper into nice, small pieces

2) Add water and white glue to your mixture

3) DO THE MONSTER MASH! Make sure the mixture is mashed thoroughly.

Zounds! What alchemy is this?


Step 3: Time to make your paper.

1) Stretch the cheesecloth/hose over the wire coat hangers to make a frame.

2) Use your frames to squeeze and squish all the water out of the pulp.

3) Shape your pulp like sheets of paper. Or anything you like, really. You could make them into masks, wallpaper, biodegradable underwear… hey, use your imagination.

Thank goodness that’s over. Now just fifty more to go. Sigh.
Alright, hanger. It’s squishing time.
Ewww. No one told me it would be this wet. My manicurist will slay me.

Let it dry and voila! Recycled paper. Happy Earth Day, Earth!