Paper is one of the most commonly used recyclable materials, that almost everyone interacts with every single day. Since paper is made from trees, huge numbers are cut down to keep up with demand, leading to deforestation and supply issues. Luckily paper recycling is an easy way to take used paper and turn it into fresh materials. Recycling paper at home is a fun way for children, and adults, to reuse materials and learn more about how the recycling process works!
How does paper get recycled?
First, paper is collected and sorted before being taken to a paper mill. There it is mixed with water and chemicals in a large vat to clean it and remove impurities, creating pulp. The pulp is pressed through rollers to get out the water and flatten it, then through heated rollers to dry it and flatten more. Finally the new paper is rolled up, checked for strength and quality, and then sold to companies which make paper products.
How to recycle paper at home
- Used paper (non-glossy like certain magazines)
- Warm water
- Frame with mesh stretched across the middle and attached to the sides
- Second piece of mesh, the same size as the first
- Sponge, cloth, or rolling pin
- Pan or bin larger than your frame
- Optional: decorations like dried flowers, colored paper, confetti, glitter
- Rip paper into small pieces and place into blender with enough warm water to cover
- Blend paper and water until it reaches a soup-like consistency
- Place frame with attached mesh onto a pan or bin
- Pour pulp out onto the mesh, making sure to spread it around
- Place the second piece of mesh on top of the pulp, then use your sponge or cloth to spread it out and push out the water. You can also use a rolling pin.
- Place the towel on a flat surface, then remove the frame with pulp inside, and put it on the towel to dry. You can leave it out to air dry, which may take a day or more, preferable in a dry and sunny environment. A hair dryer may help speed up the process.
- Once the pulp has dried completely, carefully remove it from the frame and it is ready to use!
- You can use the paper to make books, homemade cards, recipe cards, paint pictures, and more. If you want to add decorations to your paper, you can put it on the frame before adding the pulp.
To learn more about recycling and trash, contact Brazos Valley Trash Valet & Recycling today!