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?
We may as well categorize every month as Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, because we’re big fans of all three. Well…sort of. One family member is really into reducing, while two of us prefer reusing. We’re all cool with recycling, although we could probably stand to recycle even more than we do now.
One of our goals for April is to investigate what happens to our recycled materials and trash. I participated in the Denver Urban Gardens master composter training about eight years ago, and we had the chance to tour a recycling plant and a landfill. I’m hoping that Sam will be able to visit both places this month – I still have to check on the minimum age requirement for visitors, and whether we’d have to be part of a larger group to visit both locations.
I’m excited to be starting on this project path. Do you have any ideas about these topics, that you’d like to talk about this month?
These are our super-minimalist party glass markers. When we make stuff at home, most of our projects are:
- Simple and easy to make
- Open-ended – there’s not one right way to complete the project
- Made from materials we already have at home (in this case, old Scrabble tiles, bottle caps, buttons, string, twist ties, bobby pins, and velcro tabs)
We’ve been using our fancy glasses every day this week, and since they’re all identical, creating simple drink markers was a useful project. Because our goblets have a downward taper, we had to make skinny markers that rest at the bottom of the glass. At first I was playing around with paper clips and pliers, but I quickly realized that the metal wasn’t flexible enough. Shower curtain rings were way too big, and rubber bands slipped down the glass too easily. The best ties for our glasses turned out to be twist ties, bobby pins, and string.
We threaded the various types of ties through old buttons, and then worked to attach either Scrabble tiles or bottle caps to the buttons, using velcro. I like this design because the tiles and caps are interchangeable. The tiles could also be attached using glue.
Now we’re ready to make a toast and go for a double word score – Cheers!
We’re celebrating the process of building. We may suffer through falling apart, but we almost always find joy in rebuilding. It’s wonderful to be at the farm, because there’s no shortage of building materials.