The U.S. publishes over 24 billion newspapers every year, and that’s not the only place that newsprint turns up. People use it to wrap packaging, to print junk mail fliers, and to create coupons. All told, that is tons and tons of paper waste every single year.
Recycling paper is a great way to put a dent in this waste, but paper recycling is far from an ideal solution. It’s inefficient, and each time you recycle paper, you’re really downcycling it into an inferior product.
We don’t get a paper at our house, but we still end up with our fair share of newsprint somehow. Sometimes, a fragile thrift store or yard sale find comes wrapped in newspaper. Other times, we get junk mail printed on newsprint. No matter how newsprint manages to creep into your life, I’m guessing that you cringe at the thought of wasting it, too.
Rather than toss all of that paper in the recycle bin, you can reuse old newspaper around your home and in the garden!
1. Clean windows or glass. Dip crumpled newspaper into water mixed with a splash of white vinegar, and clean those windows up without any streaks or harmful chemicals!
2. Burn it up. Instead of a starter log in the fireplace or at a bonfire, use tightly rolled pieces of newsprint instead.
3. Make a weed barrier. If you’re building a raised bed, lay out pieces of newspaper before you fill it up with dirt. The paper will help keep weeds from invading.
4. Wrap some gifts. It’s fun to go through your papers to find cute and colorful pages to use as gift wrap. When I was a kid, we loved wrapping presents up in the Sunday funnies.
5. Pack it up. Instead of plastic bubble wrap, wrap valuables in newspaper for shipping, and pad your box with more crumpled paper. You can take it a step further and include some ideas in the package for how your recipient can reuse all of that paper, too!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by salimfadhley