Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Eco-Friendly Ways to Use Paper

As a person who always looks for ways to creatively reuse items that come into my house I started thinking of the number of pieces of paper that show up on a daily basis. The first eco blog I posted over at The Organic Mechanic was on creative uses for shredded paper and recently Charmaine sent me a link to paper flowers. In our conversation after receiving the link I commented on a way to use newspaper as wrapping paper. I wondered if perhaps there were even more functional or funky ways to use paper.

A moderate level of paper makes its way into my home and I find much of it ends up in the shredder. Generally I would just place a paper bag full of the tiny strips in my recycle bin but then a while back I ordered a gift and when the box arrived I was immediately impressed with the packing material used by the seller -- shredded paper. It opened my eyes to a new use for this material so when we moved we used shredded paper to pack items like dishes and it worked like a charm!

The paper flowers that I was introduced to are nothing like the crepe paper and pipe cleaner style most of us made in kindergarten. The paper items that Revolt Media creates are made from scrapbook and other specialty papers and are sophisticated and classy. Currently they are working on a custom order of origami style flowers in red and black for a wedding party. Upon the end of the ceremony the flowers can simply be recycled!

Charmaine was questioning what to use for wrapping paper since she had used up all of her brown paper bags. I suggested painting newspaper with appropriate holiday colors and then use it as home made gift wrap. This could be a fun project to complete with kids to make their gifts personalized. Everyone would have unique wrapping, making not just the gift but its packaging really special.

Writers can find many uses for old papers such as creating a personalized journal. By taking papers due to be recycled, cutting them down to the same size, stacking them and then Japanese stab binding the pages with a front and back cardboard cover, a journal is born!

Making furniture from paper has become not only an art form but a career for artist Jens Praet. By adding a bit of resin to simple shredded paper Praet has created everything from bookshelves to desks and he claims the pieces are even stronger than wood. It might be cool to keep those Christmas cards we never know what to do with at the end of the season by turning them into an end table.

With a little creative ingenuity we can find even more uses for all that paper we look at once and throw away.


High Desert Diva said...

Great post. I've seen some of that furniture and it is so impressive. Then there are Paperstone countertops, too. So many ways to reuse paper...

Karen said...

Wow, that furniture out of paper is crazy! Who'da thought??!! In years past, I've wrapped all my Christmas gifts in newspaper (comics only!) and tied with red ribbon - it makes a eco-friendly and unique gift wrap.