Recycling used paper into new inspiration

EOP Architects transforms scrapped renderings into sketchbooks for local students

EOP employees inspect a batch of sketchbooks made from their recycled architectural renderings and other documents.

Maybe you’ve received a few too many disapproving looks from your eco-savvy kids when you tried to toss a plastic water bottle in the trash. Maybe you finally bought a set of cloth bags to replace the paper-or-plastic debate when checking out with groceries. It’s safe to say most of us have embraced recycling in some fashion — most of the time. However, when we really look around, there is probably a lot more we can do to green up, especially around the workplace.

It is easy to get caught up in deadlines and workload at the office. Eco-friendly habits fall by the wayside, and no kids are watching you like you just commissioned your own garbage barge to be dumped directly into the nearest ocean.

This workplace waste was very much on the mind of architect Chris Fredi with EOP Architects, an award-winning firm based in Lexington. The very nature of design requires a great deal of drawing and printing, and that translates into a lot of paper use.

After seeing stacks of printed design and construction documents and details tossed in the recycler at the end of a project, Fredi began to wonder if all that paper could have a second life. One side of the paper contained a variety of design content that was very visually interesting, and the other side was blank, so it seemed perfect for use as journals and sketchbooks. Fredi’s brainchild caught the attention of principal partner Paul Ochenkoski.

“We always recycle our old paper,” said Ochenkoski. “We knew there had to be another use for it. We always look for ways to make a positive impact in the community, and that’s when we hit on the idea of upcycling the paper into student sketch pads.”

EOP partners and staff got excited about making the books and started brainstorming uses for them. They approached Lynn Imaging to be a partner in the creation of the books, and they agreed to cut, assemble and bind the books at no charge. The result is a bound journal/sketchbook, perfect for thoughts, memories, homework or sketching and drawing. Each pad contains about 100 sheets of the recycled paper with one side blank and the other side bearing an array of designs and drawings from EOP projects such as color renderings, hand sketches and floor plans.

Next was the question of how to get the journals into the hands of those who most need them. EOP Marketing Director Mark Henderson Thompson contacted the Fayette County Public Schools system and came up with a plan to give the journals to high-school students. The students use them for every kind of need.

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