In the last 40 years, world consumption of paper has grown four hundred percent! Today, the world consumes about 300 million tons of paper every year.
Most of this paper is made from virgin pulp that comes from nearly 4 billion trees. Trees, that would have served as badly needed carbon sinks, had they not been cut down to meet this global demand for paper.
Does recycling paper help?
Yes, definitely. And to bring this point home to students at the Amritapuri campus, Amrita Sanjeevani organized a workshop and exhibition on April 19, 2011, showcasing their hand-made recycled paper.
Teams of students experienced in the paper making process demonstrated the steps, making pulp from waste paper, then carefully straining out the water with sieves and towels, before setting out to dry, the new hand-made paper.
“What do you do with this paper?” they were asked.
“We use it to make cards and other art items,” the students answered.
On display were the beautiful greeting cards, book-marks, notepads and other small artifacts made from waste paper at this workshop-cum-exhibition.
Also on display were several other functional items, mostly made from waste materials. Amrita Sanjeevani, which is now also at the forefront of the Amala Bharatam Campaign, believes that waste is not waste; with a little imagination it can be transformed into something useful and long-lasting.
And so it was that the students had made pen stands with discarded wooden ice cream spoons, ornaments with sea shells and functional paper bags with used drawing sheets, that they now proudly displayed. Each and every product that they had lovingly crafted kept waste out of landfills, and put it to good use.
“A wonderful expression of Amma’s teachings of loving service for the benefit of society,” stated the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Venkat Rangan.
Happy Krishnan, who often volunteers with Amrita Sanjeevani during her free time, is a second-year student of B.Sc. (Microbiology). Experienced in the paper-making process, she helped many others learn the simple process.
“Being a part of Amrita Sanjeevani is something very special for me,” she said.
It is special also for the hundreds of other students who recycle paper and create wealth from waste. Their efforts, though small, are inspiring and certainly worth emulating.
If many more of us started recycling paper, and cut down on our use of paper made from virgin pulp, perhaps the 4 billion trees that are harvested every year to make paper, could be spared and left standing to perform a more important task – that of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
April 25, 2011