Eight Genius Uses for Newspaper
We've all found ourselves staring at that overflowing recycling bin and wondering when and how the pile of paper, boxes, bottles, and cans got so high. You've probably even asked yourself, "Is there anything else I can do with all of this?" Whe we're especially busy, it seems like everyday life just just gets in the way of our ability to stay on top of that household to-do list, and tasks like recycling fall to the wayside. One thing that tends to quickly pile up in most people's recycling receptacles? Newspaper. Before dragging your bin to the curb or making a trip to the recycling center, consider the many other ways you can put any printed publications you've finished reading to good use.
We should all do our part to lessen paper waste. After all, it takes a lot of trees to produce newspapers: According to disheartening statistics from the University of Southern Indiana, it takes 75,000 trees just to print the Sunday paper. But here's the good news: There are lots of great ways to maximize their usage and we've found plenty of creative and resourceful ways to recycle or reuse yesterday's news. For the crafter, this means mastering the art of reusing these paper goods in new projects. For the cleaner, newspaper becomes your secret weapon to keeping window panes and glass tabletops perfectly clean. For the gift-giver, this might mean never having to buy a roll of wrapping paper again.
The ways in which you can use old newspaper may surprise you, but we promise that this selection of ideas falls into one of three categories: pracitcal, inspiriational, or unique. Get ready to be inspired by that beckoning pile of paper.
To prepare your garden, make newspaper pots for vegetables and flower seedlings that you can stick right in the ground. Cut a sheet of newspaper (measured 12 by 22 inches) and fold down the top edge. Roll it over a can to mold the "pot" shape, fill it with fertilized soil, and it's ready to be planted when spring returns.
Clean Windows and Glass Surfaces
Cleaning your glass windows and mirrors is an arduous task. To make the work easier and ensure a streak-free surface, consider using newspaper instead of a regular rag or paper towels. The paper and ink provide a slightly abrasive surface that works well to remove marks, streaks, and stains from the glass surface. Just moisten some folded up newspaper with your favorite all-purpose cleaner, then wipe to reveal a squeaky clean finish (be sure to wipe in circular movements first, then vertically, and lastly in horizontal strokes).
Ignite a Fire
Using newspaper to get a blaze going usually results in just another flash in the fireplace. An old-fashioned solution: these newspaper twists. Tightly roll a sheet of newspaper, bend it in half, twist the ends together, and fasten with twine. Keep a basketful by the hearth and you'll always be ready to heat things up.
Wrap Your Gifts
For a personalized touch to traditional gift giving, opt for newspaper pages that highlight a particular story of interest, topic, or theme instead of store-bought wrapping paper. (You don't even need tape.) Add a paper gift-topper (wrapped beads or tassels), and it's pretty for presenting. Your gifts will speak volumes even before they are unwrapped.
Decorate for the Holidays
Anytime of year, newspaper can be transformed into standout decorations for the home. You can create some crafty items that are straight from imagination (and have stacks of fun doing it) from dinosaur-like plaster bones on Halloween to shimmering stacked trees at Christmas.
Maintain Accessories and Shoes
Your handbags and shoes keep you looking fashionable, but it's important to care for them so that they look great for as long as possible. Use newspaper to stuff your bags and shoes in order to maintain their shape. For closed-toe shoes, this also helps to reduce odor. For handbags, place the balled up newspaper into an old pillowcase or sack before placing into your handbags.
Line Your Pet's Litter Box
Boxed litter can cost you a pretty penny, but an eco-friendly option is readily available at home: newspaper. Simply shred sheets of it, soak it in a mixture of warm water, and a few tablespoons of dish soap until the paper takes on an oatmeal-like texture. Drain the water from the newspaper and transfer it into a bin, adding more hot water. Allow the paper to soak for a few hours, then drain, and squeeze out any excess water. Sprinkle baking soda over the newspaper and work it into a pulpy mixture with your hands. Spread this mixture onto a drying screen and set out to dry. To use, spread a few inches of the homemade litter in your cat's litter box.