One Man’s Trash or Treasure?

paperWhat do you do with a ton of used paper?

No, this is not a trick question and the answer isn’t “throw it away.”

Recently, a group of 6th grade students in Hebron, Nebraska taught me a new way to use all that extra paper. They’ve come up with a way to use shredded paper and turn it into pulp.  Using little cups as molds, they shaped the pulp into starter pots. The pots would dry for a week and then they would add a second layer of pulp to make the pot sturdy and strong.

After the pot would dry, the students would add soil and plant flowers to grow.  These students then adopted a “grandparent” at the local elder care community center, where they gave away the potted plants.  The neatest thing was watching the students share their recycling and reuse art project with their new friends.

The students are diverting hundreds of pounds of paper waste with this project.   What are some ways you can reuse paper in the community?

Yvonne Gonzalez is a SCEP intern with the Air and Radiation Division in Region 5.  She recently received a dual graduate degree from DePaul University.

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