August 10, 2012 in City

Spokane company makes largest piece of recycled paper

By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Devon Orenstein, 8, pushes seeds into wet paper pulp Friday, Aug. 10, 2012 during an event where employees of a local company attempted to make the worlds largest piece of recycled paper. After it’s dry, the paper will be cut up into pieces, each bearing some of the seeds planted by visitors, including children from the YMCA day camp program, outside the McKinstry building near Gonzaga University.
(Full-size photo)

A local business drew some attention this morning after its employees banded together to create the largest piece of recycled paper in the world.

All 51 workers at online retailer Green Cupboards spent several hours laying out a 1,339 square-foot sheet of recycled paper in a parking lot next to the McKinstry Innovation Center, a Seattle-based technology incubator that opened a Spokane branch at McKinstry Station last year. Two Gonzaga University alumni started Green Cupboards in 2008 and the company became McKinstry’s first tenant in Spokane this month.

“We’re pretty tired,” said Tove Tupper, director of communication for Green Cupboards. “We’ve been out here since 3 this morning getting ready for this record attempt.”

The idea to break a Guinness world record started with a casual conversation between Tupper and her co-workers about how much they wished they could compete in the Olympic Games.

“It kind of just snowballed from there,” she said.

James Fenske, a media relations coordinator with the company, then suggested making the largest piece of recycled paper in the world. The other records Fenske considered breaking were a little less practical, he said. Some involved eating food at an unheard of pace or giving the most high-fives ever recorded in a stadium.

“For the food stuff, it’s like, you had to eat like five bananas in three seconds,” he said. “There’s just too much vomit involved with that.”

But paper appealed to them because it’s easy to make and it has a fairly low impact on the environment, Fenske said.

“We’re using all recycled paper from local businesses and residents,” he said.

Fifteen official witnesses and two independent surveyors kept watch to ensure the paper did indeed establish a new record.

About 800 pounds of pre- and post-consumer paper went into the giant piece stretched across 90 wooden pallets.

The final product will be about seven-eighths of an inch thick when it dries. Then, the sheet will be cut into pieces and used mostly as mulch for planting seeds in gardens, but the company will also use a portion of it to display its core values in the office, Tupper said.

“The public is welcome, once it’s cut up and dry, to stop by our office and pick some up,” she said.

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