Magazine article Technology and Children

Pulp Nonfiction

Magazine article Technology and Children

Pulp Nonfiction

Article excerpt


According to the Environmental Protection Agency, paper and paper products occupy more space (35%) in our nation's landfills than any other type of trash. As the greatest portion of our municipal solid waste stream, paper also offers the greatest opportunity for recycling. Today, consumers buy recycled paper in newspapers, food packages, and office paper--some containing as much as 100% recycled fiber. Other uses of recovered paper include insulation, wallboard, and mulch.

The benefits of paper recycling are many and include the following:

* Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that could lead to damaging climate change.

* Cost savings, since recycling is cheaper than harvesting and processing new paper from wood.

* Considerable space saving in our landfills.

* Reduced volume of waste burned in waste combustors, thus reducing hazardous air emissions.

* Trees that would otherwise be harvested are left standing. These living trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

Imagine if every piece of paper that's simply thrown away were recycled instead! Recycling one ton of paper can save more than a dozen trees. In this activity, your students will make their own recycled paper using some of the same techniques that paper companies use to recycle--they'll rum old scrap paper into pulp, and then back into paper.


* Scrap paper (white and colored paper, and/or newsprint)

* Shallow plastic tray

* Warm water

* Blender

* Window-screen material, cut into three-inch squares (two per student)

* Duct tape

* Old towels or a roll of paper towels

* Several clean, dry sponges

* Dry flowers, glitter, confetti (optional)

preparing the scrap paper and screens

(can be done in advance)

* Take some scrap paper and tear it into small strips, place it in your plastic tray, and cover with warm water. Make sure that all staples, paper clips, and other materials have been removed. If time allows, let soak for at least half an hour.

* Frame each of the two three-inch sections of screen with duct tape.

making the recycled paper

* Place the soaked paper in a blender half-filled with water and mix until smooth. This mixture is your pulp.

* Pour the pulp into a plastic pan. If necessary, add warm water to the pan until the mixture resembles a thick soup or slurry.

* Taking turns, each student will slide one window-screen frame to the bottom of the pan and gently move it back and forth until the pulp is evenly distributed on top of the screen. Holding the edges, the student should slowly lift the screen straight up through the pulp and hold it over the tray for a few seconds to let excess water drip off. …

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