8 Eco-Friendly Ways to Recycle Newspaper

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You may find your recycling bin holding fewer newspapers as you discover how many uses there are for them. From wrapping presents to window cleaning, there are all sorts of eco-friendly ways to recycle newspaper. Here are our top eight ideas:

8 Eco-Friendly Ways to Recycle Newspaper
1. Window Cleaning

There is something about crumpled newspaper rubbed over glass that brings out a clear shine. It is especially good for the insides of automobile windows that tend to get a foggy residue. After washing windows with your usual soap or homemade vinegar cleaner, go over the glass with crumpled newspaper. Press fairly hard and go in a circular motion. Keep some newspaper in your car for when the windows fog up on the inside.

2. Mulch

You can use newspaper to mulch your garden or yard. It breaks down into the soil over time and makes a good cover in the meantime. Cut, shred, or tear newspapers into pieces, wet it, and spread it out over the area you want to mulch. Work it into the top layer of soil a bit so it does not blow away when it dries.

3. Weed Control

Another use for newspaper in the garden is as weed control. Used as mulch, it does a pretty good job of this. But if you really want to get rid of a stubborn patch of weeds, lay several folded newspapers in layers over the patch. Wet them well, then weight them down with bricks or rocks. Leave for several weeks, then remove the paper. You should have bare earth to work with and no weeds.

4. Packing Material

Newspaper makes a good cushion for the wrapping and shipping of fragile items. Even if items are not especially fragile, packing newspaper into the empty spaces around the items prevents rattling of the box contents.

5. Wrapping Gifts

Have you ever received a gift wrapped in the Sunday comics? Colorful ads and photographs also make good wrapping paper. Even the black and white pages of text can look artful and attractive as gift wrap.

6. Crafts

If you have never made papier mache, give it a try. Soak strips of newspaper in a watery mixture of water and glue. Then lay the strips over a frame of some sort that is the shape you want – chicken wire makes a good base. You can also cover blown-up balloons with papier mache, then pop the balloon and paint your papier mache ones in bright colors.

Why not recycle your own newspaper at home to make paper? With a few simple pieces of equipment, you can do just that. Soak strips of newspaper for several hours in water just to cover. Then mush it with your hands into a pulp, and blend this pulp in batches in the blender. The blended pulp is then placed on a screen which is submerged into a mixture of water and white glue. You spread the pulp thinly over the screen while it is submerged, then lift it out and let it dry. Look for more detailed instructions online.

7. Insulation

Wrap newspaper around your water pipes and secure it with duct tape. This will prevent freezing and conserve heat within the pipes.

8. Wallpaper

Covering walls with newspaper is not a new idea. The insulating properties of newspaper have inspired many a subscriber to paste newspapers to the wall to keep out draughts. Nowadays, you can go about it a bit more artfully. Paste the newspaper onto the wall in single sheets, balancing color and black and white, using wallpaper paste.

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Tags: recycle
Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an author and sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky. When she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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    • Chip
    • January 19, 2011

    Ahhhh, now I understand why my old house had layers of newspaper that I had to scrap off. Thank you!!!

    • the4peels
    • January 20, 2011

    I knew about the window-washing tip. Thanks for the enlightenment on all the other uses of newspaper. I can’t believe I’ve been giving it away to a neighbor, I could have used it so many ways. Now I will! In my garden, around pipes …

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