Despite NA’s initiatives to go “paperless” throughout the past few years, it is still difficult to avoid the printed tests and essays in our lives. Over the summer, as I was sorting through stacks upon stacks of paper last year’s paper handouts, I became inspired to find ways to repurpose all this paper. Eventually, I found a video by Shmoxd on youtube, which showed me how to recycle old papers using material I already had at home. I could also recycle old art supplies like empty paint tubes and dried clay, which I can’t recycle through my town.
The process for recycling paper essentially involves making a paper pulp from water and pieces of paper, filtering out the pulp using a screen, and then drying the pulp out. I used a blender to shred and mix my paper pulp. If I were to add color, extra colored paper, glitter, clay, or plastic, I would blend it into the paper pulp so that it doesn’t actually affect the texture of the paper in the end.
For the screen, I stretched a soft piece of window screen over canvas stretcher bars, attaching one side with nails and the other with a binder clip so that I could lift the frame off of the screen later. After setting up the screen and the pulp, I slid the screen into the water, letting the paper pulp flow over the top of the screen before I lift it back up. The screen separates the pulp from the water by letting the water drip through. Being able to lift the frame off the screen also allows me to easily add another layer of paper pulp. This is useful for sandwiching other elements, like pressed flowers or photos.