Recycle and Reuse Series: Paper

Everyone knows about recycling paper.  Or do they?  Lets take another look.  A quick internet search brings up about 50 ways to reuse paper in its Recycle Paperpresent form.  Everything from starting fires to lining pet cages, even the centuries old habit of using an old envelope as note paper is listed on some of the websites. One suggests cutting the envelopes into strips.  Most people just write on them.

One topic few people mention when discussing recycling, reusing and storing paper is the matter of safety.  While writing this article not one source mentioned the need for safety procedures.  The internet age has made it less necessary for mountains of paper to be produced and stored.  However, there are some occupations which bring more paper into your life than others.    Newspaper distribution carriers are one example.  They change out the old papers for the new ones in those nifty little newspaper boxes.  They end up with stacks of newspapers because they were not allowed to throw them away for a certain period of time.

Paper is heavy.  Be careful how you store it.  If a stack of paper falls, people and creatures can be seriously injured.  If the room where paper is stored catches fire, it will be very difficult to put it out and the fire will spread quickly across the room.  Some things to remember when storing paper:

  • store paper in boxes with lids and stack them neatly against walls or on shelves.
  • do not store unevenly matched boxes on top of each other or they may fall
  • do not store stacks of boxes in the middle of the room, they are easily bumped and will fall
  • do not store in a room where there is a furnace, hot water heater nor fireplace
  • it is preferable to store paper in a barn or shed, away from living areas.

Reusing paper starts with sorting it into “slicks” and plain paper.  Slick, also called glossy, paper is less water absorbent than plain paper, but it will eventually be just as wet.  To tell the difference between slick or plain paper, simply slide your finger across it.  Once you have it sorted you may begin recycling and reusing it in various ways from making jewelry from slicks to making fire logs from plain paper.

One use for reusing plain paper is to make new paper from the old.  Once the paper is made you can use it for any number of items such as greeting cards and personalized stationary.  This paper can also be used to make hand sewn books or books with glued bindings.  These items are especially desired because of the personalization of the item for the person who will receive it as a gift or as an heirloom handed down from generation to generation.

Regardless of your reason for storing paper, it is important to know that it is one item a prepper can collect free of charge.  All the prepper needs to do is remove plastic from envelopes, staples from pages, and sort it as slick or plain.  If the purpose is to make new paper they will need simple, inexpensive items for paper making.  Unfortunately, paper making is fun, creative and useful.  Therefore, you might find yourself making paper when you should be engaging in some other activities.

Making a book using my own home made paper has long been on the “to do list”.  I can’t just make one, I must make several because each child, and now grandchild, will get one.

These are the Google searches we used Recycle and Reuse Paper Search and Paper Making

photo by: ShironekoEuro