Plastic-free July is coming to an end, and I’m happy to report that I did pretty well at eliminating single-use plastic products from my life. I slipped a few times by using plastic shopping bags, and a couple of times I didn’t use my reusable cup when I went for coffee.
Since I don’t use these plastic products much anyway, it wasn’t too much of a leap to cut down on their use even further. Wastefulness was definitely frowned upon when I was growing up. My parents repurposed anything and everything.
I did take the time this month to explore some other strategies for cutting down on plastic use. This led me to think about all the ways I might incorporate reusing old newspapers.
I still read the newspaper so I always have some handy, but if you don’t, chances are you know someone who would be happy to give you some of their discards.
Related: Eco-Friendly Gifts
Here are 10 ways to reuse newspaper:
- Clean glass and mirrors: Spray windows or mirrors with cleaning fluid and wipe away streaks with newspapers. They do an excellent job of leaving these surfaces sparkling clean.
- Packing material: Use newspaper to pack items whether moving or mailing packages. Do away with plastic bubble wrap!
- Gift wrap: Newspaper can be used to wrap all types of gifts. Comics make for a colorful or festive look, while the sports section can be used for sports fans or the financial section for business professionals. Use any newspaper that the gift recipient would find meaningful.
- Mulch: Use several layers of newspaper (3 or 4) as a mulch to keep weeds away. Use a traditional cypress mulch, pine needles, grass clippings, or dirt over the newspaper to keep it in place. I once made the mistake of not doing this and found newspaper blown all over my yard with the first wind.
- Compost material: Newsprint can be added to a compost bin. Most newspapers use water or soy-based inks which make them safe to use in this manner. Do not, however, use colored or glossy newsprint as a compost material. These may contain toxic materials.
- Tablecloth: Newspaper makes a quick and disposable outdoor or picnic tablecloth. Just fold up the paper and throw away when done. Recycle if not splattered with food and/or drinks.
- Homemade cat litter: I have used shredded newspapers directly in the litter box for emergency situations but the paper usually ends up all over the floor. Not good. I have read about a method of shredding the paper, soaking it in soap, rinsing it, sprinkling on baking soda, squeezing out excess water, then clumping it in chunks and allowing it to dry on a screen. Dry for a few days and it’s ready for use. I haven’t tried this yet but I may in the future.
- Coloring paper: Spread newspapers out on the table or floor and let kids color or paint directly on it.
- Dry shoes: Put crumpled newspaper in shoes to help them dry quicker. Newsprint has to be very absorbent in order to absorb ink so it also absorbs other types of moisture.
- Wastebasket liner: One of the best ideas I’ve discovered was to use newspaper as a trash can liner. Now I have no excuse for plastic bags. Watch how to do it here.
There you have it, 10 ways to reuse newspaper! Reusing newspaper in these ways keeps the consumption of plastics and other items down!
Do you use newspaper for anything unique? Let me know in the comments below!
Related: Simple Non-Toxic Household Cleaners
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