Recycling old newspaper into sheets of paper
Everyone knows recycling is good for our environment, but do you know how the recycling process is actually done? In this experiment, we’ll recycle a newspaper into nice, neat little sheets of fresh paper.
- Gather up several sheets of old newspaper.
- Take the newspaper and tear it into little pieces.
- Place the pieces of paper in a blender.
- Add hot water and let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
- Turn on the blender and blend the paper mixture up really well.
- Bend the coat hanger to form a somewhat round loop.
- Cover the hanger loop with an old nylon stocking. This will be our ‘screen’.
- Place the ‘screen’ over the mixing bowl and pour the liquid mixture onto the screen.
- Let this sit for a while until all the liquid has finished draining into the bowl.
- Now place the ‘screen’ between two sheets of paper towels.
- Take this paper towel sandwich and place it on the cutting board.
- Iron out the paper towels.
- Remove the paper towels and peel the paper off the screen.
Voila! You now have recycled paper. Leave your newly minted newspaper in the guest bathroom and tell everyone there must be some pretty strong “chemical reactions” going on in there to have done that to the newspaper.
Recycling newspaper experiment notes
The papermaking process developed in east Asia, probably China, at least as early as 105 CE, by the Han court eunuch Cai Lun, although the earliest archaeological fragments of paper derive from the 2nd century BCE in China.
Before the industrialization of paper production, the most common fiber source was recycled fibers from used textiles, called rags. The rags were made from hemp, linen and cotton. It was not until the introduction of wood pulp in 1843 that paper production was not dependent on recycled materials from ragpickers.
To make pulp from wood, a chemical pulping process separates lignin from cellulose fiber. The pulp can also be bleached to produce white paper. The pulp is next fed to a paper machine and the water removed by pressing and drying. Drying involves using air or heat to remove water from the paper sheets. In the earliest days of papermaking, this was done by hanging the sheets like laundry. In more modern times, various forms of heated drying mechanisms are used.
Recycling newspaper experiment supplies and required tools
Supplies: Newspaper, Coat hanger, Paper towels, Iron
In-Article Image CreditsNewspaper press via Wikimedia Commons by Knowtex with usage type - Creative Commons License. October 28, 2010
Featured Image CreditNewspaper press via Wikimedia Commons by Knowtex with usage type - Creative Commons License. October 28, 2010