Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to Make a "Recycled" Envelope

Paper is really amazing. Many beautiful paper products (calendars, maps, blueprints, wallpaper) end up being used only one time.  Here's a cool idea.  Why not "repurpose" them into super high quality beautiful envelopes? Here's how you can do just that.

SUPPLIES - Pencil, Ballpoint Pen, Sharpie - ultra-fine, Scissors, Glue Stick - Scotch brand is best, 12" thin metal ruler.

ENVELOPE MAKING MATERIALS - Calendars, Road Maps, Blueprints, Wallpaper, Heavy Gift Wrap, Topographic Maps

SUGGESTED SOURCES FOR ENVELOPE MAKING MATERIALS - Home, Workplace, USGS, Architectural Firms, Friends (old calendars, posters, etc.), Merchants (free calendars), Recycle Center, Home decorating stores.

PATTERNS - Gently pull apart envelopes from bills, greeting cards, note cards stationery, etc. Use as many different sizes as possible. Carefully trace around envelope onto a medium-weight card stock such as an old file folder, calendar cover, or atlas cover. Cut out pattern.

ENVELOPES - Trace around pattern on REVERSE SIDE of envelope material. Generally you'll want to use the largest pattern that will fit the envelope area. Use a dark marker so you can easily see, but make sure it's compatible with the envelope material (i.e., a Sharpie on this map paper will bleed through.) Carefully cut out the envelope. Using ruler or straight-edge as a guide, fold side flaps in, then bottom flap, then top flap. Make sharp creases. Glue side edges of bottom flap to side flaps. 

SPECIAL NOTES - Careful cutting and sharp creasing make a more professional-looking envelope. Make sure your pattern is right side up on the picture! Find scissors that are sharp but easy to use for close cutting (less tiring on the hand.) Generally you don't need to worry about trying to position the pattern on a picture; in most cases the envelope comes out beautifully! Watch out for holes in the tops of calendar pictures. Yes, you CAN send your envelopes these through the US mail. Use address labels and self stick stamps. Special Thanks to VCRS - Valley Community for Recycling Solutions in Palmer Alaska www.valleyrecycling.org for this excellent idea!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Litter Champs Trophy

Kids love trophies! And the bigger the trophy... the better. So it occurred to me, why not create a really really BIG trophy for the best LITTER PREVENTION SCHOOL in our community? I pitched this idea to my local KAB affiliate KEEP THE SHOALS BEAUTIFUL last year (of which I'm a founding board member) and they (being really smart people) pounced on it.
The campaign was basically a contest for primary schools in our three county area to keep their schools the "most litter-free". Our board members would drop in (unannounced) over the course of the year and evaluate how well each school was doing. At the end of the year we tallied the votes and awarded the trophy to the LITTER CHAMP school for that year! It was very very well received. The kids liked working on something important and most important they WANTED THAT BIG TROPHY! The winning school got to be a part of a big press conference and they received a plaque and a cash prize. The trophy, plaque, and cash prize were all donated by local businesses who wanted to help us build a "cleaner and greener" ethic in our community. And here's the smart part. The trophy is a "traveling" trophy. So the winner must win it again each year or they lose this big, huge, symbol of how awesome they are! I'm really pleased at how well this LITTER CHAMP idea has taken off for KTSB. I hope you can use this idea in your community too. It's high impact and low cost. And it will make a difference in your community. Greenfully Yours, Steve :)