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Scrapping Green

by Tiffany in Crafts, Eco Tips

Scrapbooking has become a huge pastime and hobby for moms everywhere. I have some friends thatBird Watercolors scrapbook each of their children’s lives almost daily! I am not so into scrapbooking myself but I did make one once, for a childhood girlfriend that was getting married and it WAS a lot of fun I must admit. I didn’t want to give it to her when it was done!

One of the drawbacks of scrapbooking is that it requires a lot of materials, especially paper. Each scrapbook page requires a piece of fancy paper or card stock for the background, and then of course more paper is used for die cuts, frames and other embellishments. Then there are the non-paper embellishments, and let's not forget the scrapbook cover. The finished product is priceless really, but this hobby can have an impact on the environment. 

Lucky for us there are environmentally conscientious scrapbook materials on the market. Read on for some ideas on how to incorporate some earth friendly practices into your scrapping adventures.

Recycled Paper of Course!

When we think of environmentally responsible scrapbook supplies, the first thing that should come to mind is recycled paper. Buying post consumer recycled paper is a step in the right direction. Buying recycled paper cuts down on the demand for new and this saves trees. But when you purchase recycled paper products, it's essential to know what you're buying.

For instance, how much of it is actually recycled? Is it a substantial amount or is it just a marketing gimmick? Each package of paper should list the percentage of recycled materials that were used in manufacturing. The higher the percentage, the better. It is also important to identify the percentage of post-consumer waste used. Post consumer waste paper has been recycled after it has hit the market and been used, as opposed to pre-consumer waste, which is just scraps created when cutting the paper during the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer waste is not really recycling in the traditional sense because manufacturers almost always recycle their own scraps anyway…it is just good business. So touting the word “recycled” for pre-consumer paper scraps is selling something…literally.

Another important factor is the type of ink is used to print on the paper and most scrapbooking papers do have elaborate printing and design. Many of the inks used can be damaging to the environment. Always look for vegetable or soy-based inks, which are environmentally nontoxic. Your local craft store representative should be able to point you in the right direction and if they don’t carry these items, ask if they will start ordering them. You can always buy plain recycled paper and use non-toxic ink stamps or have your children paint the backgrounds with watercolors.

Recycle Your Own

Using recycled paper is a great start when you're trying to be environmentally conscious in your scrapbooking. But it would be even better to use items that you would have otherwise thrown away. This can also help you save some money. It takes some imagination and creativity, but there are lots of things you can reuse in your scrapbooks. These include:

* Old Children’s Books – Have you ever been to a yard sale where they are selling old children’s books that are falling apart? I know I have…many times. Instead of passing them by because they aren’t very readable buy them up for pennies and cut them up to use in your scrapbooks. The old early readers like the Dick and Jane classics make wonderful scrapbook additions.

* Maps – Maps are great for matting and backgrounds. You can also cut out the states or countries you recently went on vacation and incorporate them into memory pages. Fun!

* Old calendars – These are wonderful to use because you can cut out dates and use the high quality pictures.

* Wrapping paper – You can make all sorts of nice embellishments or backgrounds out of wrapping paper or tissue paper. Ribbons can also be used so save your gift wrapping materials after someone gives you a gift or raid some one's party garbage (with their permission of course) to get some raw materials.

* Greeting cards – Not only can you cut out the handwritten notes and add them to a page for a personal touch, you can also cut out pretty illustrations and verses to use like die cuts. Instead of letting sit in a box or tossing them…use them!

Digital scrapbooking is also an option and quickly gaining popularity. You may want to try it. Few (if any) physical supplies are required for this type of scrapping.

Reusing items and buying recycled and non-toxic scrapbook materials will greatly reduce your scrapbooking hobby's impact on the environment. Doing some of these things might require a little more time and effort, but Mother Earth will thank you.

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

7 Comments on Scrapping Green

  • we do the digital scrapbooking thing. not only does it use less paper but it is easier and we can send it to our family through email and they love it!

  • JB

    I love scrapbooking. Thanks for the wonderful ideas! I really like the suggestion of using an old map!

  • Very frank article – thanks for the advice on looking into the actual contents of the paper, as some names can be misleading. carries the 100% post-consumer waste and…waterless (eco-friendly) offset printing for calendars & greeting cards

  • mandy

    Great ideas on finding inspiration for scrapbooking with old books & maps & such. I use alot of different things like that for inspiration and some of them even make it into my scrapbooks – however, alot of things will actually eventually ruin the pictures if you’re not careful – so if your readers are interested in the scrapbook lasting for their children’s children to see, they should be careful to make sure it’s acid/lignin free…most environmentally friendly stuff is usually safe but do the research if you care about it lasting! (not yellowing, fading, destroying the pictures)

  • Michelle

    I’m just starting scrapbooking and all the paper I’d be using was worrying me. This post is incredibly helpful in making sure I stay green!

    I particularly like the idea of using old books that are following apart – I’ve got a few of those on my shelf!!

  • Sharon

    I keep all my scraps of paper – then use for trim, borders, inside of a greeting card, and best of all, scraps of fabric for greeting cards! I made one of red card stock, black and white gauze fabric, black button and stamped in black for Valentine’s day last year. I would attach a photo but I don’t know how!
    Recycling old greeting cards is a great way to help clean up the planet!

  • melissa boerner

    I was in a Sherwin Williams paint store not too long ago, and they were in the process of throwing out several books of wallpaper samples. I asked if I could have them and we use them for several crafting sessions around our house!! When the wallpaper companies send these to the stores, they have expiration dates on the binding..and they can’t use them after that date. So what a great thing to recycle…a great product, and a great cause!