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Rebel Without a Car – Limitless Ways to Reuse Paper

This article appeared in the on-line magazine for actors The Networker, in April 2011 and also in CityWatch.

Our campaign for City Council has ended and our office is a mess. We had a great time, we learned a lot about people and politics and about ourselves. As we wrap up the details, I find myself looking at business cards and flyers and postcards, and lawn signs and a sustainability challenge.

As we set out on the journey, we made several commitments and in the heat of the battle, they were hard to keep. We had to hunt but we used recyclable materials and printed with soy ink and traditional campaigning still required lots of one-use materials.

As I stand in the midst of our campaign office, I confront the challenge of maintaining a sustainable commitment as I look at the piles of trash. So here are a few ideas that I came up with and that I’ve looked at online, to see what one can do with used paper.

1. Shredded paper can be used for composting. It would serve like leaves in the ground. They leave air in the soil, the bugs can munch on it, and it also serves as insulation during the cold months for your plants.

2. Paper laid down on the ground as ground cover helps prevent weed from growing, it keeps moisture inside the soil and prevents water from evaporating, and it also keeps some pesky critters away.

3. You can make paper bags on your own for carrying small things. Paper is very sturdy, so go ahead and try this. (If you watch the video in the link, check out the suggestion videos. Ton of great stuff there as well!)

4. Paper can be used for starting fires. Great starters are shredded paper for example for barbequing, for your living room fireplace and for camping. You can also make paper bricks, that will keep your fire burning. Take the bricks with you when you go camping or keep them at your lodge.

5. Paper can be reused to make more paper. Puree paper in a blender with water and lay it down on a screen (you can buy one at any artstore or you can make one from stockings or light mesh cloth). Dry it and you have new paper. You can use these thicker papers for crafting, invitations, postcards. Put flower seeds in them for invitations and ask your guest to bury the invite.

6. Make paper beads or any other paper decoration for your kids’ rooms, for the Christmas tree, or to decorate your patio or balcony. Check out Paper Crafts Magazine for some ideas.

7. Shredded paper makes for great packaging material, so start saving your old headshots for those packages that you are mailing out. You can also make wrapping paper and bows from old paper.

8. Make a garbage can or any other container. I found this online and this so far is one of my favorites. The bin looks beautiful!

9. Make personalized envelopes from your fliers and headshots. I think this would really attract the attention of any casting director or agent.

10. Line cupboards and drawers with old calendar pages or pretty magazine pictures. Everytime you open the drawer, memories come back.

11. Weave cards, or make paper mache. The Ultimate Paper Mache site has some amazing projects and clear and easy to understand directions.

12. Make beads and jewelry or buttons.

Ideas are limitless of what one can do with paper. If you have some fun ideas, please share them with me and I’ll post them to my blog, which has all my Networker articles archived as well.


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