36 uses for old newspapers
When you’ve finished reading the newspaper, don’t throw it away – there are loads of uses for your old paper.
Here are 36 fantastic ways to recycle yours.
1. Cleaning windows
Using newspaper to clean windows works better than a cloth for preventing streaks. For even better results, use a vinegar-and-water solution instead of a chemical cleaner.
2. Shelf lining
Use old papers to line your cabinet, dresser, pantry or bathroom shelves. They're cheaper than shop-bought shelf liners, and they’re easy to put in and replace.
3. Cat litter box liners
Place sheets of paper in the bottom of your cat’s box, under the litter. You’ll save on litter, and any odours and wetness will be absorbed.
4. Barbecue cleaner
Turn off the barbecue and allow it to cool a little. Soak newspaper in water, lay the sheets over the warm barbecue grill, close the lid and leave for approximately an hour. Then simply remove the paper and wipe the grill clean.
5. Packing material
Newspaper is a great substitute for 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 any remaining space with crumpled paper.
6. Weed killer
If weeds are a problem in your garden, cover the flower beds with newspaper and soak them with water. Then cover the paper with compost or mulch. Eventually the paper will smother the weeds, and the organic matter will help your garden flourish.
7. Papier mache
Keep your kids entertained with this fun craft activity. With just newspaper and glue you can make whatever you can think of.
8. Fire starter
Use crumpled up bits of old newspaper to start a bonfire, charcoal grill or camp fire.
9. Shape keeper
Ensure that your shoes and bags maintain their shape by stuffing them with crumpled newspaper after use.
10. Fruit and vegetable drawer liner
Place sheets of newspaper at the bottom of the fruit and vegetable drawer in your fridge. They will absorb any mess from rotten produce, and will also keep the drawer free from odours.
11. Ripen tomatoes
Wrap green tomatoes in sheets of newspaper, layer them in a box and put a lid on top – they will eventually ripen up to a lovely red colour.
12. Stain protection
When using stain-prone products such as paint or shoe polish, place newspaper down before you start, to prevent soiling your carpet or furniture.
13. Car floor covers
Lay folded newspaper on the floor of your vehicle – it will absorb water and help keep dirt off the carpet.
14. Fireplace logs
Roll up newspapers and tie them tightly with string to make makeshift logs. You can then use them in your fireplace, saving on wood.
15. 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.
16. Table padding
Lay newspaper underneath a table cloth on your kitchen or dining room table. It’s an excellent replacement for expensive padding, and will help protect your table from spills and other damage.
17. Shoe and boot mat
Place a folded-up newspaper beside the door and keep wet and muddy footwear on it to prevent staining the carpet.
18. Shoe deodoriser
Crumple up balls of newspaper and stuff them into smelly shoes. Leave overnight and discard – and any odours will have disappeared.
19. Gift wrapping
Wrap birthday gifts with old newspaper. If you have time, you can even cut thin strips to make a bow to top it all off.
20. Book covers
Newspaper works just as well as shop-bought covers. To tell the books apart once they’re covered, use a section of the paper that mirrors the subject of the book.
21. Cheap rags
Replace rags with old newspaper when cleaning paint brushes, removing oil stains and mopping up petrol spills.
22. Storing fruit
Wrapping apples in old newspaper somewhere dry will keep them from rotting.
23. Draught proofing
Use folded up newspaper to plug any gaps in your windows or doors and cut your heating bills.
24. Windscreen cover
Lay newspaper across your car windscreen during winter to protect it from frost.
25. Carpet underlining
If you have a foam-backed carpet, lay newspaper down on the floor underneath it. This will help protect the carpet, and will also stop it sliding.
26. Protect outdoor plants
If a cold snap is coming, cover outdoor plants with sheets of newspaper, and secure them to plant stems with clothes pins. This only works if the weather is dry.
27. Clearing up broken glass
First, pick up and dispose of the larger pieces. Then carefully blot the surrounding area with a few sheets of wet newspaper – the shards of glass will stick to the damp wad of paper.
28. Seedling pot
Layer several sheets of paper on top of each other and shape them into a makeshift container for germinating seedlings.
29. Oven cleaner
Don’t waste paper towels on cleaning up any residue in your oven – mop it up with a few sheets of moistened, crumpled newspaper.
30. Unscrewing a broken light bulb
Use a wad of newspaper to unscrew a hot light bulb and prevent burning your fingers.
31. Compost material
Add moderate amounts of wet, shredded newspaper to your compost heap and give earthworms a tasty treat.
32. Insect traps
If your garden is under siege from earwigs, dispose of them by making your own environmentally-friendly traps. Simply roll up a wet newspaper, tie it with a rubber band, and leave in the infested area overnight. By morning the bugs will have gone.
33. Car wheel traction
Keep a stack of newspapers in the boot of your car during the winter months to prevent getting stuck on a patch of ice or slush. Placing a wad under each rear wheel will help get your car back on the road.
34. Cobweb remover
Simply roll up a newspaper, and secure it in the middle with an elastic band. Then cut strips into one end and use it to get rid of cobwebs.
35. Removing musty odours
Crumple newspaper and place in a suitcase for a couple of weeks to remove stale smells.
36 Knee pad
Use old newspaper as a knee pad when gardening or scrubbing floors.
This article was originally published on 29 November 2013.