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Ten Completely Easy Ways to Recycle Old Newspapers, or Newsprint Recycling for the Crafty Impaired

Updated on June 30, 2021
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Eric Standridge is a published author that shares tips and advice for everyday situations.

Old newspapers have a way of hanging around like unwanted relatives. We read them, cuss at them, and then throw them out.. Sure, we meant to recycle them, but our best intentions end up as a tattered pile.

Ok, sure, there are a few people out there that actually do recycle them, and they deserve proper respect, but for the rest of us..

For those meant-to-be recycled newspapers, here are 10 alternative newspaper recycling tips.

1. Garden Mulch - Show your plants some love with a nice gardening article from the Sunday paper. In a pinch, recycled newspapers can be used as a highly effective alternative to garden mulch. Spread out your recycled newspapers around your garden plants and then water thoroughly to hold them in place. If necessary, secure the recycled newspapers with rocks in windy areas.

2. Moth Deterrent - Apparently, moths hate witty editorials, along with everything else in a standard newspaper. Standard newsprint produces a scent that seems to send moths swiftly away. Try packing some of those out-of-season cloths with some recycled newspapers, or stuff them inside of rolled up rugs.

3. Tablecloths - It's perfectly alright to read at the table when its lined with recycled newspapers. This works great at the kids table - just remember to use the comics. After the messy meal has been munched, simply squish up those recycled newspapers and shoot some hoops with the wastebasket.

4. Moplets - ...not to be confused with Muppets. For cleaning up the occasional grease spill, or sopping up paint remover, keep a handy supply of recycled newspapers around. To store those unruly moplets, punch a hole in the corners and tie them up. They're better behaved that way.

5. Sweetener for Plastic Containers - Not saying that plastic containers aren't sweet, but occasionally they can be quite smelly. Use black and white (no colors) recycled newspapers to freshen up smelly containers. Seal the suckers up overnight and they'll get to work. In the morning, your smelly plastic container will smell as sweet as the community garden section.

6. Fire Starter - This one is not for kids or firebugs. Roll 'em up, tie 'em in a knot, and stuff under those pesky fire logs. Half a dozen of these will start even the most stubborn logs. For an additional calming effect, use the political pages.

7. Oven Cleaner - Sure, it may be easier to use one of those fancy spray cans, but what happens when the Joneses come over and your oven looks like it ate a decapitated turkey? Grab a page from your recycled newspaper and wipe down the inside of the stove. Grease disappears like last nights dinner.

8. Penny Rolls - Not to be confused with small rolls left over in the oven, strips of recycled newspapers can quickly be turned in to makeshift penny rollers. They can also be used for dimes, quarters, and nickels.

9. Duster - Grab a page of recycled newspaper and roll it up. Ok, quit eying your siblings.. tape the roll together and cut multiple 1/2" slits at the end to make a fringe. This works perfect for those hard to reach places.

10. Kitty litter - This isn't recommended for long-term use, but in a pinch, shredded up recycled newspapers work quite well. After purchasing real kitty litter, simply put on your ever-present bio-hazard suit, scoop up the smelly newspapers and toss as usual.


The obvious was not going to be mentioned here, but after careful reflection, and much failed origami practice, it should. Newsprint makes for great crafting paper. From paper-mache to strange looking captains caps, using newspaper to craft creative kids projects has been a tradition for years. Hint: If you are looking to make some sweet art projects without that pesky print, try using some blank news print. You can always find it on Amazon, such as this one.

Of course, these tips only work if you still read newspapers. So much of the news can be found online anymore that it's made the traditional newspaper almost obsolete. Still, there are a lot of publications printed on news sheets that these tips will still work for. They can usually be found in the free racks outside convenience stores, grocery stores, and blowing in the breeze along the interstate. If you still can't find newspaper print, check with the local newspaper office. Many of them now sell blank newsprint rolls. At an average cost of $40 or less, newsprint rolls are a great alternative to more expensive materials and the stuff lasts until it finally biodegrades from too much time in the sun.

What other uses for old news papers can you think of?

© 2011 Eric Standridge and Sierra Juarez


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