In this activity, students do their own recycling by making card paper from used paper.
How Paper is Made
First, raw materials are turned into fibres. Wood is turned into chips at a mill, then treated with chemicals and boiled under pressure to get the pulp. This dissolves the lignin (the kind of glue that binds the fibres together) in the wood. An industrial-sized blender is used to chop the wood finer for paper. If you are recycling paper, the recycled fibres—which are chopped up and soaked—are added at this point.
Repeated recycling causes pulp fibres to become increasingly less suitable for papermaking. In particular, the fibres become shorter and less flexible, producing weak and bulky sheets. Paper strength and quality can be maintained only by a mixture of virgin (new wood) pulp and recycled pulp.
Paper can be made at home, as a project that shows the effort and ingredients required to recycle what students use everyday in the classroom into a new, usable form.