It has been estimated that roughly 35 percent of our waste consists of paper products. This heavy demand for paper is a major factor in the deforestation of our world’s forests. It is also contributes in a large way to the issues of waste management we encounter globally. To combat these problems, paper recycling has become a large industry.
We most commonly see recycled paper products in the form of notebooks, tissue paper and toilet paper. Most recycled paper products are created from grinding up old paper then reforming the pulp into new forms. Yet, there is a whole realm of unique and innovative ways in which paper can be reused creatively. Below are just three examples of recycled paper items that are beneficial, as well as artistic, in the way they utilize recycled paper.
Paper water bottlesPaper products are often used to clean up water and other spills, but a few innovative folks are creating a paper product that instead holds water. The first of these innovative containers is the 360 Paper Bottle. This bottle is an attempt to combat the use of plastic bottles that lead to a tremendous amount of waste, most of which is never recycled. The 360 Paper Bottle is a remarkable product not just because of its recycled paper component. But it is built in one singular line of production and designed for easy shipping without added packaging. This cuts down on excess materials that are often only used once before being discarded. The inventor and designer of the 360 Bottle, Jim Warner, said he created the bottle to challenge the status quo in a sustainable, useful and interesting manner.
The second water container made of recycled paper aims at a specific challenge. The Milan Expo this year is expected to have several million visitors. This massive number of people is a potential nightmare for waste management of the city. Designer Andrea Ponti created a unique water bottle that resembles a canteen that visitors to the Expo can use to hold water during their time there. These bottles can then be easily recycled as the city cleans up from the expo. This canteen like bottle comes with a carrying cord so it can be slung over the shoulder as you explore the Expo. It is likely we will see this design being used at other major events around the world.
Environmental urnsThe loss of a loved one is a difficult and trying time. A few innovative companies have attempted to make this trying time a moment of remembrance a bit more sustainable through recycled paper urns that biodegrade. These urns are both works of art and a unique way to say goodbye.
One example of this is the Memento Urn by Passages International, made of elegant and simple curves to hold your loved one. On the top of the urn is a small opening in which personal notecards – also made of recycled paper – can be placed. This allows you to write final goodbyes and notes to a loved one before releasing the urn into the ocean, where it will biodegrade and reunite your loved one with the earth. Each purchase of a Memento Urn also includes a donation to the Ocean Conservancy in order to help preserve the final resting place of your loved one, the ocean.
Another group that provides this service is Stardust Memorials. This company has many urns of different shapes and sizes. One of its most beautiful pieces is shaped as a sea turtle. Hand-crafted, the sea turtle can be let out to sea, where it will float for a time before sinking into the ocean. Made of recycled paper it is both an environmentally friendly and beautiful way to say goodbye.
Recycled paper furnitureYou probably don’t often think of recycled paper as being a good material for furniture. Yet, after these examples, you might just change your mind. From the most simple and elegant to the innovative and revolutionary, these pieces are sure to redefine how you view paper.
One of the most unique items I have seen has to be a blowup couch made of recycled paper. When I first read the title, I couldn’t imagine this working. Yet, the beautifully designed and simplistic couch made by designers Malafor does just that. Made with recycled paper this sofa is not only made of recycled materials, but can be recycled when its life is over, cutting down on the waste created by improperly discarded furniture.
Shelves, desks and other furniture in which you would traditionally use wood or particle board are also getting the recycled paper treatment. Way Basics has developed a substitute for wood/particle board, naming it the zBoard. These boards are made with 99 percent recycled paper and can be shaped and fashioned into a whole host of forms depending on the need. They are strong and can be fashioned into shelves, tables and desks while also weighing half as much as traditional materials. These products are also fully recyclable. You use 3M adhesive tape to hold the furniture together, which eliminates the need for screws, nails or tools while retaining their recyclability.
A final product that I couldn’t pass by due to its unique design is the Hockenheimer Stool made by German NJU Studio. This awesome stool allows you to recycle paper in order to use it. Designed to declutter the home while using recycled products the stool gains its height as you add old books, magazines or newspapers to the stack. The stool comes with a stand, leather straps and a cushion. It is then up to you to add your old paper products until the stool reaches the desired height. Have a lot of massive textbooks from your days in college? What better way to sit on the shoulders of giants than to use your textbooks for a seat? Plus, you can get very creative with how you put together the books to make interesting patterns and shapes.