Paper Love

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Despite the tablets, the laptops, the smart phones, I still have a thing for paper, and I imagine I always will. Though I’d save a few trees by consistently jotting my notes on one of my ‘devices’, I still seek out a sketchbook, a notebook, a sticky note, a scrap of paper, the back of an envelope, even a napkin, when I want to get an idea down. Even though I’ll lose the papers eventually, in my disastrous purse or in one of the teetering piles on my desk, I still love those papers.

Maybe the tiniest particles in a sheet of paper resonate with my own fragile, human molecular structure. We’ll both return to dust more quickly than metal and plastic. And not to be overly dramatic, but if we were to lose the energy sources that power all of these laptops, we could still figure out a way to pound tree bark into paper, so that we could keep making marks, to connect and remember.

So when it comes to paper, we tilt toward the reuse and recycle sides of the triumvirate. I just don’t want to reduce. Except for junk mail. Fortunately our city has a comprehensive, single-stream recycling system, and they accept almost anything that would qualify as junk mail:

– Opened mail, greeting cards, postcards, index cards and file folders, loose leaf and legal pad paper, stationary, letterhead, copy and typing paper, paper envelopes (plastic windows OK), brochures and glossy ads

If recycling junk mail isn’t as easy where you are (or if you’re really committed to the reduction side of things), Denver Recycles has put together this ‘junk mail reduction kit’ that includes ten form letters to download, print and mail to the US companies that send out the most unsolicited mail. I’m not sure which other countries have similar campaigns (or whether junk mail is more of an American disease).

Since reusing paper is the most fun of all, I’ll devote a whole post to some of our favorite projects and resources soon. Until then, what’s your preferred method of dealing with the superfluous paper in your life? Do you embrace it, or do you stop it at the front door?

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2 thoughts on “Paper Love

  1. First off, thanks for enriching my vocabulary! I had to look up the word triumvirate–Nice choice! I will challenge myself to reuse that word sometime this week ; )

    My preferred method is to stop lots of paper from coming in, but the paper that does come in, if it can be reused for crafting material, I welcome it. It lives in different places in our home–colored cardstock scraps in a basket on our art drying rack/art material storage–and grandma likes to cut things out of the newspaper or magazines for her grandchildren to use–that goes in a box on our art supplies shelf. I welcome this sort of reusing, but can get to a point where I say, “This isn’t being used, get rid of it!”–Then, it goes in the recycling bin. I am with you, Elise–I love paper and prefer it. So happy there are many recycled/post-consumer choices out there–It makes me feel better about the paper I use : ) Great post, as always!

  2. Reducing is on my mind a lot this Spring. I’m torn between keeping things I might use someday and letting those same things go to make room for space and new possibilities. Fabric, art supplies, books, CDs, garage stuff–lots of weight. My friends in Boise, Joan and Mark, seem to have a natural leanness. No clutter and yet their home feels warm and comforting. No piles of papers, closets too full of clothes or other feng shui congestion, I know it’s not a big effort on their part to live simply: they just do. I see the same life style in your home (except for the inevitable kid stuff).
    I look at my own messiness and don’t quite know how to pull the weeds and preserve the flowers. Help!

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