Natalia Grom about project “ZNOVA” for making paper from cane: “I think eco products or restaurants would like our products”

About the project “ZNOVA”, which allows to create biodegradable reed paper, say the leading media of Belarus. The author of the idea Natalia Grom and her team became the finalists of the main competition of social projects Social Weekend.

Instagram: @zn0va

Natalia Grom

Teacher of Chemistry at School №2 in Zelva. The teaching experience is 20 years. At the Faculty of Biology, BSU received a specialty «Biologist, teacher of biology and chemistry.» The second diploma is about retraining in the specialty «Teacher of the English Language» (MSLU).

Scientific-practical conferences, which take place in schools with enviable regularity, are usually pushed to create unique projects. Both teachers and students work together in this direction. And who, if not the chemists, deduce the formula for success?

“I’ve had an idea for two years,” says Natalia. — Constantly I had to hear from friends, they say, we do not have so many places for swimming. And the reservoir, and the Zelvianka River, and forest lakes are overgrown with reeds too quickly. I saw it myself: I often run with my husband for a run in the forest, because we lead a healthy lifestyle. Once again they wanted to bathe. The husband says: “Wait, I will serve you. Then you float. » This phrase was the impetus: it’s time to do something!

Reed removal does not harm the ecosystem at all, as the plant is renewed twice a year. Yes, and is a cosmopolitan, i.e. growing everywhere.

The scientific background of the project was the conference materials of the Institute of Experimental Botany. V.F. Kuprevich with the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. There, the question was raised whether the collection of dry cane affects the environment. It is proved that it is absolutely harmless. However, it is better to engage in harvesting in the winter. First, birds at this time do not nest in thickets. Secondly, the reservoirs are covered with ice, and collecting reeds becomes easier.

Having developed a technique for making paper from the collected cane, Natalya first tried it at home. And when everything turned out, she showed the production process to children in the classroom. Many immediately became interested. Very soon, they learned about this in other institutions of the district, began to invite Natalia to personal workshops.

Photo by Karolina Bogdanovich

The reed has a stem and a panicle. You can use both. Virtually no waste. Therefore, the ratio of the mass of raw materials and the resulting material is 1: 1.

As for technology, they have yet to be improved. But now the teacher has learned to make paper of different thickness (there is so thin that it can be used to print on a printer), colors and textures.

Over five hundred people supported the idea of processing cane into paper. So the project team got into the Social Weekend social projects competition, where the authors of the coolest startups have the opportunity to find both creative and material support. Experts from the creative industry «Creon» engaged in promoting the idea of Zelva innovators. And the project “ZNOVA” reached the final, following the results of which managed to win a year of free use of hosting.

“As for the name, it ideally reflects both the origin (“ Z ”- Zelva) and the essence of the production process (“ NOVA ”),” the author of the project considers. — And, as the experience of participation in the Social Weekend has shown, a decent presentation of the initiative is half the success.

Environmental projects are the most frequent on the Social Weekend. Similar to the Zelva ekoproekt on the creation of threads from nettle presented the capital’s gymnasium students. But they “flew”, because they did not demonstrate the finished material.

And an entire team worked intensively on our side — at different stages the project was supported by colleagues from Secondary School No. 2: Svetlana Zhabrun also underwent training and presented the project in the final, Karolina Bogdanovich led Instagram, took photos and videos, Irina Trofimovich developed the site, Svetlana Shevchik, also After training, helped with the production of products, Natalia Stupchik — with the promotion of the brand, Victor Danilyuk supported the project from the very beginning to the final.

Today ZNOVA has accounts on Instagram and VKontakte, where you can see both finished works and master classes. By the way, the profiles are students. And they are doing well.

In the coming school year, on the basis of ZNOVA, the school plans to launch a course for business students to promote business strategies:

– Even a small town like Zelva can provide something profitable. You need to be able to benefit from seemingly nothing, — notes Natalia Grom.

From biodegradable paper, you can do everything the same as usual: business cards, photo albums, gift bags, etc. Only ideas for application and design are needed.

– For example, I want to try to stick one of the walls in the house with “reed” wallpaper as an experiment, the teacher shares his plans. — It is also possible to design paper in different ways: use drawings or prints, decorations (such as glitter or thread) and even flavorings (cinnamon, coffee, etc.).

Today the school is actively looking for both sponsors and buyers:

– There is a room for production at school, but it is difficult with equipment. I need at least a stove, ”says Natalia. — For bleaching would need active chemicals. But we are not trying to make paper for writing. What we have now looks pretty authentic. I think many eco-bars or restaurants would like our products. I do not want to be ahead of events, but it seems that cooperation with one of the Belarusian trademarks is already improving. I hope everything will work out!

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