Scrap 4 Schools launches green repurposing project for school art programs

Sometimes good ideas happen by chance. I was fairly new at the “Working Mom” gig and I was always on the lookout for new activities for my daughter so I began bringing home scrap items from my job as an Accountant for a local Engineering firm, MNS Engineers, Inc.(MNS). I would peruse the recycling bins for large pieces of paper, called “plots” in the engineering industry, that didn’t have any sensitive client information on them and bring them home to Bridget to draw on or finger paint on or cut into a thousand tiny pieces, or whatever she deemed good and fun for that day.

After a few weeks I thought that it would be fun for her whole class to have paper 3′ x 4′ to play with for art projects, so I sent a simple email around to the employees at MNS to save non-client sensitive scrap paper for me and the response was wonderful. Since late 2008 I have been collecting and delivering scrap paper in rolls to Bridget’s daycare and one time I even got to deliver a whole roll of damaged paper that was completely clean! MNS has a culture a culture that fosters support for local philanthropic efforts and the schools that have received their “scrap” paper have been very appreciative. I didn’t realize just how deep the funding cuts for these organizations were until I witnessed the wonderful things classes are creating with this paper!

The daycare promptly sent their big giant Thank You with me to work and it still hangs in the copy room to this day. It’s a bright spot in our work day to think of all these little kids giggling and plastering their hands onto a piece of paper that is as big as their table.

Around the time of the Budget Crisis in California, I began to think about how many other firms have scrap paper that is just getting tossed into the recycling bins and how many schools and daycares have budget deficits that could benefit from not having to allocate funds to paper for their art projects and I just sort of put the excess with the need and went, “Ah ha!” From there we have tried at Scrap 4 Schools to concentrate on re-using what is readily available in the way of scrap in our community to provide loads of artistic entertainment fun for the kids.

It’s just our way of giving back, of being a little kinder to the environment, and of helping the schools to spread the budget around to other areas that might need a little boost. If we just think about things from a different perspective from time to time, say from about 2-1/2 feet off the ground, then we can come up with some really unique ways to make our community a better place: Greener, happier and certainly brighter!

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