If you’re as obsessed with Pinterest as I am, I’m sure you’ve seen the new trends in seeded paper. It is used for wedding invitations, greeting cards, and even business cards, to name a few. I started thinking about making my own seeded paper and researched the process, which seemed easy enough. But when I began thinking about the paper I would be recycling to create it, my mind started thinking about what chemicals are in the papers I was using, and if there were any seeds that I could put in my paper that could offset whatever chemicals my paper was putting into the ground.
This research took me to various science journals to study a little about hyperaccumulators, or plants that accumulate heavy metals from the soil in metal-rich environments that would be toxic to other plants. These types of plants are sometimes used to remedy polluted environments by accumulating the pollutants found in the soil and returning them into the environment in a less toxic state, a process known as phytoremediation. I chose to put Indian Mustard seeds in my paper, because of all of the plants I researched, Indian Mustard was a top candidate for the hyperaccumulation of many different metals including cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel, lead, and zinc. (If you want to learn more here’s an interesting article from the Electronic Journal of Biotechnology.) I then researched a little about chemicals used in paper processing, and found that of the above chemicals I mentioned, Lead Chromate (PbCrO4) is used as a yellow pigment for Canary Yellow or Chrome Yellow and Cadmium Sulfide (CdS) is used as a pigment for Cadmium Yellow. While the recycled paper and flower petals I used to make my paper may not contain much or any of these chemicals, I did find the research interesting, and the paper was fun to make too!
I hope you find this project inspiring for your own paper making projects!