Top Ways for Recycling Newspaper

Pile of newspapers on white background

Newspapers have a tendency to pile up in corners, unused and out of luck. Newspapers can be recycled, in many fun and creative ways around the house.

Newspapers can be reused in many projects around the house, including crafts, cleaning, and drying. It is cheap, plentiful, and absorbent, which makes it a great painting guard or paper towel replacement. It can absorb moisture, fight odors, and keeps its shape when crumpled.

From art projects to cleaning windows, newspapers might just be your new best friend when tackling household chores. Find lots of creative ways to use up that pile of papers gathering dust in the corner of your house.

Arts and crafts

origami paper ship isolated on white

One really fun way to use up lots of newspapers all at once is paper mache. This is a really easy, quick way to make a creative sculpture with a lot of artistic freedom. Cut the newspapers into strips matching the size of the project, soak them in liquid craft glue (you might want to water the glue down a little) and gently paste them to the base of your sculpture. Once the newspaper has dried, remove the structural base, and paint your sculpture!

One fun thing you can make out of paper mache is a pinata! Just make sure your chosen design is hollow and sealed except for a small hole in which to place your favorite candy. To keep the clean-up simple, place newspaper under your crafting area, and just scoop it up when you’re done.

Another idea is to pick out your favorite words, pictures, or letters to make a fun collage. Cut out your newspaper pieces of choice and glue or tape them to a cork board, piece of sturdy cardboard, or fabric.

I’ve also used crumpled newspaper on watercolor paintings to create a wave-like pattern in the paint. It’s a really handy artist’s tool for clean-up and texture.

If you want something a little more challenging, you can cut a sheet of newspaper to your desired shape and fold it to make origami. The nice thing about using newspaper for origami is that newspaper tends to keep their shape, and can be easily painted over for a cuter design than the weather reports.

One of my favorite crafts is a paper flower. Layer as many sheets of paper on top of each other as you can, and staple or stitch them together in the middle. You’ll want a small connected spot in the middle, with the surrounding paper loose. Cut the paper in a circle with the diameter you want your flower to have. Layer by layer, crumple up the paper into the middle of the flower. You’ll end up with something that looks like a carnation. Enjoy!

Replacing paper towels

Looking for a replacement for those expensive paper towels? Newspaper comes in clutch once again! Newspaper naturally absorbs moisture, much like paper towels, and can provide a sturdier alternative. Use them on windows, mirrors, or even a dirty grill.

I don’t recommend using newspapers on counters or tabletops, since they require the more deep cleaning that best suits a rag. Spray the surface you want to clean, not the newspaper, and crumple the newspaper to get a good, rough edge for scraping.

Make sure you don’t get your newspaper too wet, or it can fall apart. The great thing is that newspapers actually absorb more liquid than paper towels, so they fall apart less than paper towels do. If they do become over-saturated however, don’t try to save them, as they can start to transfer ink.

Absorbing moisture

Stuff the shoes with newspaper and dry them. Wet, damp shoes.

Newspapers are incredibly absorbent, which is great, especially if you live in a humid area. I’ve stuffed sneakers with newspaper after washing them in the washing machine to keep the inside of the shoes from getting mildew, and every time I do, the inside of the shoe dries faster than the outside, and I don’t have water pooling around any cracks or crevices in the shoe.

You can also just put newspaper in a sweaty shoe to absorb that liquid and keep the shoe from smelling. If you’re worried about a container getting condensation, just add some newspaper! It’ll absorb any water in the air and keep the container dry. Just don’t put it on any food without a skin (fruits and vegetables should be fine) because you don’t want the ink getting in the food

Another place you might want to soak up extra moisture is your cat’s litter box! Place a few layers of newspaper on the bottom of your box before adding adequate litter. When you change the litter, make sure you change the newspaper! You do not want that stuff sitting around! The newspaper will keep the box from getting too damp, and prevent it from smelling as strongly as well.

You can layer newspaper anywhere you want to prevent moisture, like on the bottoms of pantry shelves, or under shoes that have been in the mud to keep the muck contained. The nice thing about using paper towels to soak up mud or liquid is that you don’t need to worry about washing it. Just use it until you’re done and toss it out.

Alternative uses

If you haven’t used up all your newspapers by now, there are a few more things they can be used for! Newspapers, especially when layered, are very stiff, and hold their shape really well. You can crumple or shape newspaper and use it to prop up things. If you stuff a wad of newspaper in a shoe, it’ll keep the shoe from losing its shape.

Newspapers also provide cheap padding when packing away valuables. This is when the absorbance comes in handy again. You can wrap delicate glass, clay, or other material in a newspaper when packing it to keep it from rattling around in extra space and breaking. Newspaper can actually be better for this than bubble wrap because it won’t pop, and you can crumple it to fit a specific shape. You won’t get those satisfying pops though!

If your newspaper doesn’t have a glossy or plastic finish, you can also use it as a great kindling. Crumple or loosely roll newspaper and form a small pile at the base of where you want your fire to be. Pile small twigs over that, and as you get further from the newspaper, add larger, thicker pieces of wood until you have a small pile. Keep a window inside the pile leading to your newspaper, so you can still light it when the pile is finished.

Just make sure to burn newspaper outside, only burn dry newspaper, and watch out for small, light pieces of newspaper that may catch fire and break off of the whole, then fly into the air. These are usually small enough to not cause any damage, but fire safety is no joke.

From bonfires to cats, a newspaper is a great household tool! So don’t be afraid to recycle it around the house.

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