Best use of recycled paper? Make jewellery!

By: Vrinda Gokhale

Life is moving a lot faster than it was twenty years ago. We need immediate action and satisfaction for everything.  As a result the environment is the last on the list. 

Image credits:  frozennuch 

Our Planet can take care of our needs but not our greed. (I think I heard that on Discovery channel).

We’re building where we shouldn’t, we’re wasting reusable materials. So, our Environment is changing- Pollution, dirt, garbage. The magic and beauty of our surroundings have gone, in its place is stress, devastation and mutilation. Sad but true.

Our environment is land, air, water. Their condition is directly related to our survival. Besides that, I count the systems and the people also part of it. Our actions have impacts on absolutely everything, sometimes in small doses and sometimes in a big way. We are very careless with electricity, with water, noise, with all the necessities and luxuries in our lives. 

Why is recycling and saving paper important?

Recycling of waste materials, wastewater, and wasted energy is a locally available and highly desirable means of reducing greenhouse gases, according to United Nations. From protecting forests to curbing climate, recycled paper use is essential for sustainability.

Reusing, up-cycling, saving all materials is important because the industries that produce these things are very polluting. That is just the first point.  Producing these in the first place takes energy and resources like water which can be put to better use.

Paper is easily replaced by online work, less printing, less garbage. I recycle paper which is not sold to the “Rag Pickers”, stuff like balance sheets, accounts papers, photocopies of documents, etc.

We need to understand that we aren’t the only people on the planet and the sun doesn’t revolve around our human presence! It’s quite the opposite! 

How can people save paper at home?

We have a place where we collect all the paper, glass bottles, plastics, metals etc from 4 different flats. Takes a little effort but it goes a long way.  Once a month a small truck comes to pick everything up. There are many such recycling services in each city. Find out which one works best for you. Also, the kitchen waste goes into the compost for all the plants we grow at home. And this is way better than the “khaad” available in the market.

To save paper:
1. Use less of it
2. Use the back of the discarded paper to make lists, or use an app on your phone.
3. Don’t print until absolutely necessary
4. Try Paper-Mache as a hobby and use up the waste. I roll it and make jewelry. 

Making jewellery from recycled paper

It started in 1992 when “eco-friendly”,  “environmentally friendly”, “up-cycling”, weren’t trending concepts. Growing up it was instilled in all of us (me plus three siblings) how reusing and not wasting anything is important, how we need to use and waste as little as possible. Also, being productive and not wasting time, cultivating hobbies, sports, etc.

Image credits: Instagram/paperjewelz_vrinda

Coming to Delhi for College was a big change and that is when I decided to take up a new hobby- Paper-Mache. Turned out I was terrible at it! I used to fail in art and craft. But, I did like jewellery. So, I took my sisters MBA preparation notes and tore them up to make cylindrical beads to make Tibetan inspired jewellery like my mother wore. 

One experiment after another, in 6 months I felt I was onto something.
And now 28 years later after nearly quitting maybe 4 times,  I’m enjoying exploring my creativity through an interesting medium that makes my jewelry “eco-friendly”,  “environmentally friendly”, “up-cycled”, ”recycled” and really unique.

Yes, recycled paper does help the environment and climate and that is the need of the hour. So, next time you think of buying a new notebook or diary, think twice!

Vrinda Gokhale

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