NewspaperWood – Reinventing Old News

Every day, piles of news­papers are discarded and recycled into new paper creating a huge surplus of paper. During her study at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2003, Mieke Meijer devised a solution to use this surplus of paper into a renewed material: Newspa­perWood.

Newspaperwood photo courtesy of Vij5

NewspaperWood photo courtesy of Vij5

NewspaperWood shows the reversal of a traditional pro­duction process;  but rather than creating paper from wood, this is the other way around. This process is actually coming full circle, returning the paper into its original form after it has been discarded. When a Newspa­perWood log is cut, the layers of paper appear like lines of a wood grain or the rings of a tree and therefore resembles the aesthetic of real wood. The material can be cut, milled, sanded and generally treated like any other type of wood.

Vij5_NewspaperWood_TabloidTable_flower_04

Mieke and Vij5 (Arjan van Raadshooven & Anieke Branderhorst) first met in 2007. When Vij5 discovered NewspaperWood in Mieke’s portfolio, they were so impressed that they decided to collaborate almost immediately.

. Photo courtesy of Vij5

Mieke and Vij5 with NewspaperWood. Photo courtesy of Vij5

After presenting NewspaperWood for the first time in 2008 at the Dutch Design Week Eindhoven (NL), Vij5 and Mieke continued developing the material and its production processs. In addition, they invited a group of talented young Dutch designers to experiment with NewspaperWood to design their first product collection.

Close up of Newspaperwood tabloid coffee table. Photo courtesy of Vij5

Close up of NewspaperWood tabloid coffee table. Photo courtesy of Vij5

NewspaperWood Tabloid Table. Photo courtesy of Vij5

NewspaperWood Tabloid Table. Photo courtesy of Vij5

Vij5 emphasise that NewspaperWood does not aim to be a large scale alterna­tive to wood, nor does it seek to transform all paper waste into a new material. The central theme in the project is ‘upcycling’ with which they seek to show how you can change a surplus of material into something more valuable by using it in another context.

A log of NewspaperWood on the bandsaw. Photo courtesy of Vij5

A log of NewspaperWood on the bandsaw. Photo courtesy of Vij5

Although printing techniques for newspapers are nowadays efficient enough to reduce the test prints and first unusable newspapers to a minimum, there still is enough material available. Next to that ViJ5 use ‘yesterday’s newspaper’: the newspapers that are printed but not sold and will turn out to be old news the next day anyway.

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NewspaperWood Sample Series. Photo courtesy of Vij5

To actually upcycle the news­papers into new wood-like material, Vij5 (temporarily) take the newspapers out of the already existing and efficient cycle of paper-recycling. Vij5 believe that it would be ideal to be able to bring their own waste material back into the circle again.

NewspaperWood Sample Series. Photo courtesy of Vij5

NewspaperWood Sample Series. Photo courtesy of Vij5

Therefore they use a glue to construct the material which is free of solvents and plasticizers, as these chemicals would make it more difficult to recycle. Using these environmentally friendly methods, it is not only possible to put any sawing and sandpaper­ing waste back into the circle, but also to make the Newspa­perWood easy to recycle.

Ugandan Recycled Paper Beads

The Ugandan bead project ‘aber beads‘ allows women to engage in enterprise and business activities.  Aber means beautiful in Acholi, a tribe from the war ravaged north of Uganda.  The beads are made from recycled paper which is twisted wrapped for extra strength.

Ugandan paper beads

Ugandan paper beads

Ugandan paper beads

Ugandan paper beads

 

Ugandan paper beads

Ugandan paper beads

The pages of recycled magazines are cut into triangles & then rolled into beads.  They are coated with a non toxic, odourless varnish which gives them a water resistant & glossy finish as well as protecting them from fading. Create unique, social & ethical gorgeous jewels such as necklaces, earrings & bracelets.” (taken from the Etelage blog)

Ugandan paper beads and paper bowls

Ugandan paper beads and paper bowls

These paper bowls are also really pretty and are surprisingly sturdy too. The aber project mainly supports women affected by war and/or by HIV and AIDS. The initiative aims to give these women a sense of empowerment and freedom in creating their own goods while promoting sustainability.

Ugandan paper paper bowl

Ugandan paper paper bowl

Ugandan paper paper bowl

Ugandan paper paper bowl