Old Paper, Trash or Treasure?

January 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Take a look at your recycling bin.  Is it full? Half full? All of that paper is on its way to be pulped and then turned into more paper! If you are anything like me, your mail has only a few minutes before it is sorted into your recycling bin.  Now look again- there is some beautiful stuff in your bin- a mailer from your local grocery with illustrations of fruit and flowers, a postcard invite to a photography exhibit.  What if you were a pack rat? A ‘hoarder’, a paper nut?  You might save those bits of paper, and they might eventually go into to boxes, be untouched for decades, only to be to be sifted through years later and marveled at.

Old paper is referred to today as ephemera.  ‘printed matter of passing interest’ ‘lasting for only one day’ But this printed matter is the paper trail of our lives, think of old time scrap books- comprised of theatre programs, birth announcements, report cards, train tickets and more.  There are collectors of seed packets, post cards, stock certificates, greeting cards you name it.  This ‘ephemera’, with time, is infused with meaning, and in turn, with value.

Some paper hanging around the office


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