August 21, 2008

Green Living: Reusing Newspaper

Despite the proliferation of the internet, it still seems like people love newspapers. I myself subscribe to our local paper for a few days out of the week, and there is something about opening that paper at the kitchen table in the morning while eating breakfast that is comforting. The paper forces me to slow down a bit and linger over articles, that is when my baby isn't demanding my full attention. Plus I don't even mind having a little ink on my fingers. In a way, it's nicely old-fashioned. And who wouldn't like to see this (my photo above) on their doormat in the morning?

So what do you do when you finish reading? Most of my newspapers go to recycling, but sometimes they can be reused around the home.

In the House
  • Use in place of paper towels for cleaning windows
  • Place underneath your cat's litter box to absorb "misses" (replace often)
  • Level a table by folding some up and sticking it underneath the uneven leg (not pretty, but I've done this)
  • Wrap packages or Christmas ornaments in them
  • Wrap presents with it. I like using the comics for kids gifts. My frugal Grandpa did this every Christmas and saved up weeks of colored comic sections from the Sunday papers
  • Roll it tightly to use as kindling for starting a fire in the fireplace
  • If you're eating something really messy (or just serving a table full of kids), lay some down instead of a tablecloth
  • Make a newspaper dustpan
  • Use in your shoes as an odor eliminator. Just crumple a piece and stick it inside and leave overnight
  • Put a few folded sheets in the bottom of your trash can to absorb leaks and odors
In the Garden
  • Fold newspaper flower pots (tutorial Here)
  • Shred it and add it to your compost pile
  • Use sheets of newspaper on top of your soil but under your mulch to reduce weeds (but leave room for your plants to grow)
  • Keep a small pile inside your back door to put your wet dirty gardening shoes on

Arts and Crafts
  • Use as dropcloths under a table or on a table underneath your art materials
  • Tear it into little pieces and make handmade paper (link here)
  • Turn into papier mache strips. Use a mix of white glue and a little water to thin it out and dip the newspaper in it and cover on a form (link here) Family Fun magazine has some great papier-mache ideas here.
  • Make some paper hats


  1. Great ideas. Plus, it's a great replacement for Styrofoam packing peanuts when sending out something in the mail! This is what I do with catalogs I get in the mail, i rip out pages, scrunch them into a ball and use them to keep things secure during shipment.

  2. Fabulous ideas! I think that using newspapers on windows is much more effective than paper towels too since they leave less lint. Your idea for newspaper flower pots is my absolute favorite. Thanks for sharing so many creative ideas with us this Thrifty Green Thursday!

  3. Great ideas. I'm trying to reuse stuff around my house more.

  4. Great ideas! We get a free paper every week that usually just gets tossed. Now I can actually do somethign with it.

  5. I like the idea of using newspaper to absorb odors. Your post reminded me of something I read a long time ago: you can use newspaper to absorb mold or mildew odors from clothes. You're supposed to crumple up a bunch of newspapers, stick them around the clothes, and keep all of that in a suitcase or something. In a couple days, the clothes should be odor-free. Has anyone tried this? It sounds cool!

  6. Thanks for the tips! I used to use mine as bedding for my compost worms, but they flew the coop so to speak, leaving me with a lot of compost and old newspaper...


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