Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Recycling Paper the Bill Nye Way

My son thinks I've gone off the deep end with this "going green" thing. But, the combination of my frugal nature and seeming inability to throw anything "useful" away has made me a little eco-crazy.

Last weekend we went to see the new "Wolverine" movie. We got to the theater late due to road construction and had a couple of hours to kill before the next showing. Luckily we were by a mall so we did some shopping. We ended up at Wal-Mart looking for some recycled card stock to make hang tags for my eco-friendly clothes. Unfortunately I couldn't find any with more than 10% recycled material in them. But, what I did find on the clearance rack was a Bill Nye the Science Guy Paper Recycling Factory. I checked the contents and found it was on clearance for $3 because the box was damaged but everything was still there.

This is intended for kids but I figure I'd give it a go. It's a totally human powered way to recycle and make your own home made paper. It comes with a little handcrank blender and all the tools you need to create little 4"x5" sheets of paper. My son just looked at me and rolled his eyes. Then he made me cover the box with one of the organic t-shirts I bought because he really does not like Bill Nye.

Now, why my Sam doesn't like Bill Nye I have no idea, but I'm a fan of the Science Guy so I cut his picture off the box and attached it to a little magnet on our fridge as a joke. He hasn't noticed it yet but I always laugh when I open the fridge now.

In our town every school has a big paper recycling dumpster out front from "Paper Retriever". Every pound of paper earns money for schools . If your school doesn't participate you should check it out. About once a week we empty a milk crate full of paper into the dumpster outside his school. Since we haven't gone this week yet I had plenty to work with for my recycled paper experiment.

My first attempt was lengthy process; ripping, soaking, churning, screening, squishing, and drying. But, once I got the hang of it, it was smooth sailing. I was really happy with the final result and loved the little flecks of different colors. Sam of course thinks it's horrible and kept asking me what I was going to do with it. "Why make my hang tags of course." was my reply.

Wouldn't you know it, those little sheets of recycled paper are the perfect fit for my Sizzix Machine. I used my tag punch, which has three sizes on the same dye-cut pad and voila my 100% recycled paper hang tags. I'll just feed through some salvaged ribbon and write on my shop information and prices and they'll be good to go.

Now recycling paper with a "kid toy" wasn't the thing that made Sam think I was certifiably eco-crazy. It's what I added to the paper mix that still has him shaking his head. I'm working on that project and will post again when I'm done.

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