Archive for the "paper & stationery" category

What can I reuse or recycle to make small seed envelopes?

I asked this question on Twitter yesterday forgetting I had a blog dedicated to such things ;)

Basically, I want to make some small envelopes/pouches for sharing spare seeds at a seed swap.

I imagine I’ll make them using scrap paper (old envelopes seem a logical place to start but I’m open to other suggestions) but I don’t know how will be best to go about making them.

I usually just use a complete old envelope (one of the bigger-than-A5 ones that the banks use, since that’ll all I really get through the post these days) – but the seeds only take up a tiny amount of space so that’s convenient but excessively bulky. And since I’m giving them away, I’d like them to be a bit neater/fit for purpose if possible.

They need to be reasonably tightly made (since some of the seeds are very small and will fall out of holes) and, if possible, resealable in some way (even if it’s just having enough space at one end to be folded over firmly a few times). Ideally they’ll be water resistant too.

The wonderful Mary Horesh suggested a great how-to for making super cute envelopes out of a square of paper – so that’s one idea. Any other how-to suggestions?

And any ideas/advice about what paper to go for or avoid? I’m imagining anything pulpy like newspaper or cheap book paper will be a no-no because they’ll absorb water rather than resisting it.

Any non-paper options?

How can I reuse or recycle whiteboard marker pens?

We’ve had an email from Julie asking:

Can I recycle whiteboard marker pens? What plastic are they?

I don’t know what plastic they are. I’ve spent about an hour this morning reading the “about our products” page of all the marker pen manufacturers I can think of but no one mentions that – and no one mentions that. (They do though tell you how many solar panels are on their factory, or how they print the name of the markers onto the marker barrel. You know, useful stuff like that). ANYWAY. I’ll shoot emails off to all those companies to see if anyone of them can help us out with some info.

Even if the barrel is a recyclable plastic, it probably won’t be a case of just throwing in them in a green bin – you’ll probably have to remove the writing core (the ink “tampon” – see the things I learn reading these pen websites!) as that’ll be different from the hard plastic of the barrel. You can apparently get refillable whiteboard markers – you either resoak the “tampon” inside with more ink or replace the whole ink bit with a new pre-soaked one. Needless to say, the time/mess/expense of doing that means that only the dedicated will do it – for the rest, it’s easier & cheaper to replace & throw away disposable ones, sigh.

Does anyone know any more about recycling them? Or has any “reducing” ideas – how to make them last longer, which brands to get/avoid, alternatives in the first place? And can they be reused for anything?

Recycled Christmas decorations – our favourite ideas

Wondering how to make your festive season that bit greener by making recycled Christmas decorations?

There are lots of ways to make them reusing waste paper, scrap fabric, or random other things from around the home and garden – and they’re certainly not all just for kids.

Here are some of our favourites:

Recycled Christmas – upcycle trash into handmade presents

Perhaps it’s just the blogs I read but it seems like more people than ever are thinking of making gifts this Christmas.

There are lots of suggestions out there for making biscuits, cakes or jams, or knitting or crocheting something pretty — but if you’re after a truly frugal Christmas, all those ingredients & yarns add up: what about things which you can make by reusing/recycling/upcycling things from around the home?

Here are my favourite ideas for simple & frugal upcycled Christmas presents:

1. Hankies

Handkerchiefs are easy to make from any soft old cotton fabric – bedding or clothing for example. They’re simple but always useful – and help the recipient cut down on their disposable tissue usage too.

Don’t feel they have to be boring white – I made the ones in the picture out of an old pink gingham shirt – and consider monogramming/embroidering them to make them extra special.

(Use 100% cotton fabric where possible and 100% cotton yarn too so that they can handle being washed at a hot temperature if needs be.)
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How can I reuse or recycle till receipts & their rolls?

We’ve had an email from Roger:

I was wondering Have you ever featured Till receipts on your website, I work in a supermarket and at least once a day i ‘run out’ of till receipt paper and have to replace it, But i’m sure there is at least 10% of the paper still on the roll, and if you add this up to all the tills in a store that’s a lot of wastage.

I like to keep mine to one side until a parent with small child come along and donate it as some colouring in paper, or use it to write class notes but i was wondering if you know of any recycling schemes for en mass collection or even if the paper is recyclable full stop (it has a glossy finish)?

There is also a sturdy plastic tube as well that you can glue together to make a pen holder, but there are only so many pens in the world.

When I used to work at supermarkets, back in the day, we used to keep the end of the rolls for notes – break times if nothing else – but the plastic rolls were just slung in the bin.

Receipt rolls used to all be thermal paper – like the old fax paper – and that can’t be recycled – but I wonder if that’s changing now (most of the supermarkets I’ve been in recently have new printers, to either do double-sided receipts or to print it all at the end) – anyone know? If they still are thermal paper, we’re be looking for reuses rather than recycling suggestions.

As for the sturdy plastic rolls, I don’t know of any recycling schemes off hand but I’ll contact some of the big chains to see if they do anything. Aside from the logistics of returning them, it doesn’t feel like there is anything in the way of stopping them being reused for the same purpose, since they don’t exactly change or get damaged during their roll. Anyone know of any schemes to reuse them? Or have any suggestions to reuse them elsewhere?