You know how much damage the making of new paper costs our environment. However, there is hardly any substance that can replace the function of paper. Even high-tech computers are not able to eliminate the need for paper. But there is one thing we can do to lessen our use of paper in our own way. You can segregate white office paper from other office trash for recycling. But with a bit creativity and effort, you can turn recycled paper supplies to a profitable business.
Paper recycling is old news, but it seems to be an on-and-off venture for most people. Making recycled paper crafts into a business provides fuel to the recycling machine. If you look at bookstore displays, you'll find coarse looking stationery and specialty papers. Even if these look old and rough, they are more expensive than those smoother and printed papers. Those coarse specialty papers are handmade and use natural fibers and recycled paper. You don't need to buy a truckload of waste paper to get started. In fact, look around your house. Sort through your old files and see if there's anything in there that you don't need anymore. White office paper like bond papers are great for this recycling project.
After sorting the white papers from the rest of your office stationery supplies, shred them in a document shredder or just tear them to little pieces. Throw in colored paper if you like a bit of color and different textures. Place the shredded papers in a blender or food processor with hot water in batches. Blend for a couple of minutes until the mixture looks fine and in one color. Add food color or dye if desired. For a touch of ingenuity, a few drops of essential oils like lavender or rose water make for lightly scented papers.
The blended pulp will be the base for your homemade paper. But to form and harden it, you must have a screen and mold. These materials are available in paper supplies stores or made at home using wooden frames and fiberglass screen. Meanwhile, soak the pulp in batches in a soaking solution made of water and liquid starch. The starch will prevent the ink from softening the paper. The amount of pulp per batch depends on the desired paper thickness. More pulp means thicker paper. Stir amd make sure that the starch is well incorporated in the pulp. Scoop the paper out using the molds and tap it to drain excess water. Level the surface of the pulp until smooth. Do this repeatedly until the right thickness and texture is achieved. Cover the mold with a fabric and invert it, making the pulp slide onto the cloth. Squeeze the pulp to remove excess water and dry it out. Stack the prepared pulp together with fabric in between in each layer. Press excess water out and separate the individual sheets. The sheets can be air-dried or laid out in newspapers to dry by sunlight.
When dried, the handmade paper can be cut into desired sizes and bound by natural fibers like hemp rope to form a journal. When cut into tiny pieces, the sheets also make lovely note cards. To add a touch of elegance, dried flowers and leaves can be added during the molding process. The use of office paper is not limited to the office. With this project, you can start your own paper supplies business.
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