Uses for the Newspaper
Newspapers were never created to be saved forever, ask any archivist. Newspapers must be carefully preserved. Once the paper is read, articles of interest cut out, pictures and other interesting points pasted in scrapbooks or passed along whole to a fellow reader. it is meant to be reused in another way.
Here at the Inquirer office we recycle. We have a bin for used batteries, one for used CDs, and a large metal one for used paper that cannot be used again in the office for anything else (like printing on the back side or using to take notes, etc.). We also recycle our left-over papers.
Using old newspapers for other projects has long been a revered tradition in America, even before we had the word “Green.” Here are just a few ideas we would like to share with you:
– Newsprint paper is highly absorbent and ink is now required to be non-toxic. This makes it the perfect material for lining bird cages and litter boxes, shredding for hamster/gerbil/guinea pig/ rabbit cages, newly hatched chick boxes and layered by the front door for puppy training.
– Old newspapers are great for rolling up tightly and using as a weapon of self-defense, a fly swatter or to beat one’s children with. For the creative types, cutting out individual words and letters from the pages to create artwork or ransom notes leads to hours of fun! For the hoarders or collectors out there, after years of saving your newspapers in large piles and stacks throughout your home or garage, you will have a “newspaper city” to construct buildings and forts to navigate through–it’s the closest thing to life-size Legos. And for those who really like to think outside the box, a newspaper clothing line could be economical, original and hip. Imagine a dress or three-piece suit made entirely of newspapers–it sounds like something out of Lady Gaga’s closest! Just don’t go out in the rain when wearing your avant garde creations.
– Take extra papers and spread them around plants, in pathways and any other place you don’t want weeds . Add mulch on top of the papers. Use three or four layers of paper. This keeps moisture at the roots, acts as a weed barrier and adds to the soil for the next year. (When I tried this I had almost no weeding to do, the worms were educated and we had no slugs.)
– Newspapers are high in fiber, taste better than plastic and are good for starting fires (legal and illegal).
– Ball newspaper pages intermittently in kitchen garbage bags. Newspaper aides as an odor deterrent and soaks up spills. Also line the bottom of the garbage cans with it.
- Newspapers can be used for Insulation, body armor, arson, first aid dressings (inside pages are most sterile since they don’t touch anything), curtains, wallpaper, blankets and papier måché self portraits.
– It has been shown that one sleeve of newspaper can smother a 50-gallon metal drum fire by placing it over the top (that is if there are no other holes in the can).
– Newspapers have been known to be used for diapers
– Because of its odor eating qualities of newspaper, line veggie and fruit drawers. Saves in cleaning up after the odd rotten apple or potato.
– Use them for wiping windows after washing, stuff in all windows and door cracks in the winter to keep the cold out. Use it to protect the floor when transplanting houseplants. Also, did you know that 1 year olds like to play with it?
– Wrap unripened tomatoes in newspaper to ripen.
– I read in a magazine that newspapers can be rolled in 4-inch wide rolls for use as fire logs. Tightly wrap pages with a little moisture and dry for a few days. This is labor intensive, but we did it as a family project. Newspaper logs burn fast and hot.
– Newspaper is the best material for papier måché (ask any art teacher). When my children were small we all made papier måché African/Indian masks that were then painted in bright colors. We glued feathers, beads and yarn hair to the masks. They were displayed in the living room for 18 months.
– Fish markets and meat markets used to wrap their wares in newspaper before bagging. We are not sure if that practice it is socially acceptable anymore.
– Store newspapers in a metal box with a few treasures that you wish the next generation to appreciate or scratch their head over. Whenever someone opens a time capsule, one of the most treasured pieces is the old newspaper. Newspapers hold history.
– My parents send us boxes each Christmas. My children look forward to the Arizona Gazette colored Sunday funnies that are saved during the year just for us. Some articles of interest are saved along with that. The rest of the pages are balled and used as packing material. The bottom and top of the box is also lined with newspaper to keep dust from getting in the cracks. Some say at $1 an issue, our paper would be expensive packing material, but I recently bought bubble wrap and paid $5.49 for a small roll. I still needed to supplement the stuffing with newspaper.
– Rolled up newspapers are great for A) Fly swatters, B) Doggy Discipline tool, and C) Paper Airplanes.
– Newspapers can be used for, D) Origami practice, E) Little paper boats, F) Little sailor hats G) Survivor style paper cup for water harvested from the leaves of trees, H) Wrapping paper in a pinch, I) Home-made ball for puppy in training.
– The original formula for Silly Putty was great for copying newspaper comics and ad photos. Just warm and flatten your Silly Putty and press it down on the desired editorial cartoon. Pull up and see the picture in reverse on your Silly Putty Paper.
– Can be used as a blanket or a mattress.
– Thick covering of newspaper for insulating hot pots on table tops.
– Newspapers are biodegradable (disappears within weeks of composting).
Print is not dead. It’s just recycled.
(CAUTION: Newspaper must be read before reusing.)