Upcycle Your Unrecyclable Paper
Okay perhaps this doesn’t really meet the definition of upcycle but it’s a way to take something destined for the trash and create art with your kids (“kids” meaning your actual children, your friends, or your significant other). After all none of want to grow up, do we?
Some green decisions are easy. I know to avoid plastic bags of all kinds. I can keep the ones I have and wash them but I don’t want to buy any more. Plastic wrap is a no no and aluminum foil should be washed and reused. As long as it’s clean it can also be recycled. But what about parchment paper and wax paper the constant companions of bakers everywhere? Apparently I need to cross them off the grocery list too! Although they can be recycled they aren’t usually accepted at recycling facilities. The problem is the wax or silicon, it’s difficult to separate those from the actual paper. By difficult I mean costly and time consuming. While we all like to think recycling programs exist to do the right thing and save the planet but the reality is they are about making money. That’s the same reason not all recyling facilities accept all plastics regardless of whether or not they are physically recyclable.
Recycling facilities decide what to accept based on what they are capable of processing and what’s going to make them the most money. If there isn’t a large enough demand or a high enough return they won’t recycle things like wax paper or all the different varities of plastic. It’s sad but I understand, they have to make a living too…
Since I can’t recycle these types of paper what can I do with them? I can make art, how cool is that? Most of us have probably preserved leaves with wax paper or dried and pressed flowers (which incidentally can make beautiful placemats or wrapping paper). You could also gather up all your scrap paper and make a centerpiece to decorate your winter dinner table. You may want to clean the wax/parchment paper off first but if not it just adds character :).
If you are thinking about composting, well that seems to be rather complicated. Some people will say it composts just fine and they’ve been doing it for years and others will argue that the wax paper products have absolutely non-compostable synthetic additives to make the wax more water resistant. So it will degrade eventually but do you want that in your soil?
What do you use? What products have you banned from the kitchen because of their impact on the environment?