DIY Recycled Paper

Look what I bought.

I literally paid money for my own garbage. I bought this! With money! Money is for bills!

I literally paid money for my own garbage. I bought this! With money! Money is for bills!

Granted, Mesa's Blue Barrel Program is actually very excellent as they accept most things that can be recycled. I'm just upset that I pay SO MUCH MONEY for things that are discarded. 

Some wrappings are necessary for sanitation, but have you ever opened something like a smartphone box? It's literally boxes within boxes just to look cool. I wonder how much boxes within boxes costs.

Some wrappings are necessary for sanitation, but have you ever opened something like a smartphone box? It's literally boxes within boxes just to look cool. I wonder how much boxes within boxes costs.

So I've decided to start living towards a more waste-free life. I know that it IS possible (remember that famous zero-waste person in NYC?) and is a new kind of lifestyle that can be grown into. It's not something I'm going to do tomorrow, but I am innovative and decided to make this change into an adventure!

Quest 1: Recycling Paper

Ads! How can I stop getting these? In the meantime, I can recycle them!

Ads! How can I stop getting these? In the meantime, I can recycle them!

Take any old paper and toss it in some water. Soak it until it's really mushy.

Alternatively, you can use dryer lint! That actually makes a really great paper too! You can even mix lint and unwanted paper in any ratio; it doesn't matter, just soak it all.

Tasty tasty trash stew. The dryer sheets in this picture did not work out, so I set them aside for another use.

Tasty tasty trash stew. The dryer sheets in this picture did not work out, so I set them aside for another use.

The idea is to make a pulp. A blender is a handy way to achieve this, so blend it up!

Eh... Also, this is a good step to add bleach, if you'd like!

Eh... Also, this is a good step to add bleach, if you'd like!

If it isn't grossing you out by now, then you aren't doing it right. Next, combine it with water in a large vat.

Don't tell my landlord.

Don't tell my landlord.

Turns out that making paper is actually an art in straining. The pulp is pretty consistent in thickness throughout this liquid so you have to be careful in how you strain it. The original article I read on this technique suggests you use window screening to strain the pulp with. However, I didn't have any screen laying around. What to use, what to use.....

Oh! My handy-dandy used dryer sheets!

Oh! My handy-dandy used dryer sheets!

Chopsticks makin' it easier to strain the pulp soup.

Chopsticks makin' it easier to strain the pulp soup.

Whatever you use (screening, dryer sheets, cheese cloth), dip it in your pulpy soup and collect a nice layer of pulp. You want it to be as even as possible. It's going to be really wet still, so with the pulp on the screen (or dryer sheet), lay it pulp-side down on a towel or cloth. Then, press the water out.

The pulp will be pretty dedicated to sticking to your screen, so don't worry about it sticking to the cloth when you press the water out. But once it sticks to your screen, you can't take it off. So it needs to stay there until it dies completely.

The pulp will be pretty dedicated to sticking to your screen, so don't worry about it sticking to the cloth when you press the water out. But once it sticks to your screen, you can't take it off. So it needs to stay there until it dies completely.

You DON'T want this.

You DON'T want this.

Set to dry. That's literally it. That's paper! The bigger your screen, the bigger your sheet of paper! Unfortunately, I didn't have any large screen to use, so I only made the one sheet. But I did try making a paper bowl and a paper cup!

After this all dried, the paper sheet came out really well! But I couldn't get the paper off the ceramic bowls and plastic cup.... My idea sounded better ON PAPER XD Ah-ha ha.

After this all dried, the paper sheet came out really well! But I couldn't get the paper off the ceramic bowls and plastic cup.... My idea sounded better ON PAPER XD Ah-ha ha.

A really fun and REALLY MESSY activity! 10/10 would do again! But next time, I need much bigger screens, and many of them!

Good, so now I know what to do with all this extra paper and dryer lint. One step closer to a zero-waste (or at least less wasteful!) life.

Turned out pretty great!

Turned out pretty great!

 

Quest 2: soon...