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18 Ways to Reuse or Recycle Old Newspaper

Updated on March 12, 2013
Re-use or recycle newspaper around the house.
Re-use or recycle newspaper around the house. | Source

By Joan Whetzel

Most people get their news from the TV, Radio, or internet these days. Not so much from newspapers. But those of us who still love to spend time pouring over the local newspaper are faced with the challenge of what to do with the paper once we're done reading it. Here are a few ways to reuse or recycle old newspapers.

1. Cleaning. Newspaper can be used with a few squirts of window cleaner to clean mirrors and windows. They leave these surfaces streak free.

2. Humane Society & SPCA Donations. The Humane Society and SPCA are always looking for donations of items that will help them take care of their animals in the most cost effective way. Newspapers are one of those items they use daily to line cages. If you donate all of your newspapers to these fine organizations you may even be able to take the cost as a tax deduction.

3. Lining Bird Cages. Yes, line the bird cage at home. Makes clean up much easier.

4. Litter Box Filler. First shred the newspaper, or gut it into small strips. Then use it exclusively in the place of kitty litter or mix with the kitty litter to extend your kitty litter usage. Either way, it's a cost effective measure to taking care of the litter box.

5. Paper Training. There' salways this tried-and-true, time-honored tradition of training a puppy.

6.Paper Mache. We've all done paper Mache projects for school. Newspaper probably one of the best materials because it accepts glue and paint so nicely. If you need a glue recipe or a couple of paper Mache ideas, check out these two websites.

7. Decoupage. This craft form might be considered a variation of paper Mache. It has a different artistic style to it though in that it uses the newspaper to decorate specific containers or surfaces, which are then shellacked to seal the newspaper in place. The decoupage artist can use newspaper articles, titles and headlines, or photos. For some interesting ideas on using newspaper clippings in decoupage check out this website.

8. Scrapbooking.Keeping a scrapbook of memories for yourself or someone else is a wonderful way of telling a person's story. Include any newspaper articles that appear about that person (including birth, wedding, or death announcements). Better yet, find articles, headlines, or story titles that describe that person and scatter these throughout the scrapbook. Or, if the person you're making the scrapbook for, is a die-hard fan of the local football team, include some of the team's highlights. When keeping a bride's book, include newspaper articles or photos that will contribute to the bride's wedding plans. If you're looking for a new home or remodeling ideas, keep clippings and photos in a planning book. Anything goes here.

9. Pirate Hat. This one has been around, probably, since the first newspaper was printed. Kids love them and they emit fond memories of childhood for most of us kids-at-heart. The following link has the directions for those who haven't tried it - or who have forgotten how to turn a newspaper page into this great character's hat.

10. Table Protection for Arts and Crafts Projects. Open out several pages and spread them out on the kitchen or dining room table before beginning any art or craft project. Just be sure to make the layer of newspaper thick enough so that the art materials (glue, paint, shellac) don't bleed through to the table top. The best part of this re-use of newspaper, is that you simply bundle up the mess inside the newspaper before taking it to the garbage can outside. The whole mess is biodegradable, as long as it's not placed into a plastic bag.

11. Wrapping Paper or Gift Bags. Newspaper makes great wrapping paper and gift bags. Use the comics for the kids or kids-at-heart in your family. Why not use the sports section for the sports fanatic, the home section for the realtor in your life, the bridal section for the bride-to-be, the classifieds for the college graduate, or the travel section for someone who's planning a trip or who just came back from a trip. The following link gives directions for making newspaper gift bags.

12. Table Cloth for Crawfish Boil. How many of you have been to a crawfish boil? Be honest, now. You thought this newspaper table cloth was a cool idea, didn't you. The treat thing is that you don't have to save this idea only for crawfish boils. You can use it for any picnic table.

13. Fire Starter (Tinder). Ever have trouble starting a fire (fireplace, campfire, charcoal grill, patio firepot)? You've done everything you normally do to get the fire started, but for some reason, it remains stubbornly resistant to your efforts. Newspaper makes great tinder. WARNING! Kids should not try this at home or without adult supervision.

14. Garden Mulch. Shred or cut the newspaper into strips and add it to the mulch pile, which will end up feeding your plants.

15. Shredded for Package Filler. Shredded newspaper makes great - free - filler for those package you send out. Buying those Styrofoam peanuts and other fillers can get expensive after awhile. why not use your old newspapers as a packaging material. It'll save you a bit of money.

16. Wrap Delicate Items for Moving. A variation on the packaging idea is to wrap delicate and breakable items before boxing them in preparation for moving to a new location. Wad up some of the newspaper and pack it around these items or in between to keep them from shifting around or bumping into each other during the moving process.

17. Line the Vegetable Drawer. In the refrigerator, lining the veggie drawer with newspaper (and refreshing it from time to time)will help keep it dry and free of smells.

18.Ripen Tomatoes. There are many reasons for wanting - or needing - to ripen tomatoes indoors.Here's one way to do that.Wrap each tomato on a piece of newspaper. Then leave them out at room temperature to ripen them more quickly. This is a variation of the ripening-in-a-bag trick. It works pretty much the same way.


How to Make Gift Bags from Newspaper

Make Your Own Pirate Hat

Scrapbooking with Newspaper

Preserving Newspaper Clippings


Paper Mache Glue Recipes

How to Paper Mache


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    • joanwz profile image

      Joan Whetzel 5 years ago from Katy, Texas

      Great idea about removing the soot. I hadn't thought of that one. Thanks Gradmapearl.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 5 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Lots of great ideas here, Joan. I really like the one about saving them for the local humane society. That had never occurred to me. We burn wood, so they are used for starting fires. I like to roll them up into a loose log shape--that makes it easy to start and keep going. In addition, I use the scrunched up newspaper to remove the soot from the wood stove glass. Nothing I've found works better! Voted Up & Useful!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I love all your ideas and have done several. We always want to find new ways to save dollars and preserve the planet. Voted up and sharing.