While newspapers are very recyclable, they are in less demand by paper mills as a raw material. For this reason you may find that collectors and recycling programmes are refusing to take old newspapers.
Fortunately old newspaper is also very versatile and can be used for many things around the home. RecyclePaperZA has made a list of 20 ideas to get you started.
GARDEN AND PETS
- Animal shelters – donate your old newspapers to animal shelters who will use them to line the kennels and catteries.
- Anti-weed helper – cover weed-prone flower beds with damp newspaper. Then cover the paper with compost or mulch. Eventually the paper will smother the weeds, and the organic matter will help your garden flourish.
- Cat litter box liners – use newspaper to line the bottom of your cat’s litter box. You’ll save on litter, and any odours and wetness will be absorbed.
4. Compost and worm farms – add moderate amounts of wet, shredded newspaper to your compost heap or worm farm. Earthworms love this tasty snack.
KITCHEN AND HOME
5. Broken glass – wrap and dispose of the larger glass shards in old newspaper. Then carefully blot the surrounding area with a few sheets of wet newspaper – the smaller shards will stick to the paper.
6. Carpet underlining – place newspaper underneath a foam-backed carpet. This will help protect the carpet, and will stop it sliding.
7. Cleaning windows – old newspapers work well to clean windows as they prevent streaks. For even better results, use a vinegar-and-water solution instead of a chemical cleaner.
8. Fruit and vegetable drawer liner – place sheets of newspaper at the bottom of your fruit and vegetable drawer in your fridge. They will absorb any mess from rotten produce, and will also keep the drawer free from odours. Wrapping apples in old newspaper apparently keeps them from over ripening.
9. Ripen green tomatoes – wrap green tomatoes in newspaper sheets, layer them in a box and put a lid on top – they will eventually ripen up to a lovely red colour.
10. Shoe shape keeper – keep your shoes and bags in shape by stuffing them with newspaper when not in use. This also helps to deodorise smelly shoes. Leave overnight and discard – the newspaper, not the shoes!
11. Table padding – lay newspaper underneath a table cloth. It’s an excellent replacement for expensive padding, and will help protect your table from spills and other damage.
GIFTS AND CRAFTS
12. Covering school books – newspaper is a cost-effective substitute for shop-bought covers for school books. Make it your own by finding stories or pictures from magazines that mirror the subject.
13. Crafts – there is far more to newspaper crafts than paper mache such as our newspaper flowers. A web or Pinterest search will also yield loads of ideas.
14. Gift wrap – get thrifty and crafty by using newspaper as giftwrap. Decorate with some string and sprigs of rosemary or lavender.
15. Packing material – newspaper is a great substitute for plastic bubble wrap. To pack a box with fragile contents, first wrap the items individually. Place them in the box, separated by crumpled paper. Then fill gaps with crumpled paper.
16. Camping aid – put several sheets of newspaper underneath your sleeping bag when you go camping. This will keep your bag dry, free from dirt and grass stains, and will provide a warm padding. You’ll be as a warm as toast too!
17. Cheap rags – use old newspaper to clean paint brushes, removing oil stains and mopping up petrol spills.
18. Clean your braai – allow braai grid or gas grill to cool. Soak newspaper in water, lay the sheets over the warm grid or grill, close the lid and leave for approximately an hour. Then simply remove the paper and wipe clean.
19. Fire lighters – use crumpled newspaper to start a bonfire, charcoal braai or camp fire.
20. Windscreen covers – lay newspaper across your car windscreen during winter to protect it from frost.