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Reducing, Recycling and Reusing Paper

By: Ajibola Ameerah

Coolection of slices of paper isolated on white background

Coolection of slices of paper isolated on white background

Paper is a thin material produced by pressing together moist fibres of cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets. It is a valuable material with many uses including writing, printing, packaging, cleaning, and a number of industrial and construction processes.

In most homes, newspapers, magazines, textbooks, notepads etc. are found to be in abundance with little or no use. Soon, these papers become too much trouble and create a nuisance.

So, what do we do with them? Here are some tips on how to properly manage the growing piles of paper in our homes and also our various places of work.

Reducing Paper: The first step is to reduce the amount of paper we bring into our homes. With the wide increase of computer usage, many newspaper and magazine publishers have made articles that are found on printed sheets to be available online for us to read. Instead of buying newspapers every day, you can access the internet and read all your favourite articles online.

You can also reduce paper by

  • Leaving paper cases at the mall or market when you can
  • Avoid printing documents if you do not need them and print on both sides of the paper
  • Tell your kids and friends about paper reduction.

Reusing Paper: Have you ever thought of using your old newspapers, calendars, old sheets etc. to do something creative? This will be perfect if you have little kids around to keep them busy and increase their creativity. One way to reuse your old sheets is to create pieces of home decoration. You can achieve that by making PAPER MACHE. It can be simply put as mashed paper or “chewed paper” in French. There are various processes in making paper mache but i will give one of the simplest ways to achieve it.

You will need;

  • Old newspapers or any type of paper you want to get rid of
  • Starch
  • Water and
  • a bowl

Method: Soak the paper in water until the paper is really soft, you might decide to boil it to speed up the process. When the paper is soft, it is easy to shred. Once that is achieved, squeeze out the excess water as much as possible and add starch. Now, you can start creating whatever you want. Put out in the sun to dry and paint if desired. If you are sculpting on another object, remember to add cooking oil on the surface so the paper is not stuck when it is dry.

Paper mache bowl.

Paper mache

Paper mache

For more information on paper mache and other home paper decor, visit:


Lastly and perhaps the most important, recycling paper; Recycling generally has so many advantages and so is recycling paper. Apart from eliminating unwanted materials in your homes, it also creates raw materials for recycling companies.

Recycling paper also has a lot of financial benefits. For example in the US, the annual payroll of recycled paper, paperboard and deinked market pulp mills is $6.9 billion. A lot of job opportunities are also created in the line of recycling. About one million jobs are created world wide in the paper recycling business. Recycling one ton of newsprint saves about 1 ton of wood while recycling 1 ton of printing or copier paper saves slightly more than 2 tons of wood.

* Instead of felling more trees to create new paper, you can contribute to helping the environment by supplying your unused paper to local paper recycling companies around you*

Culled from


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