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New life for newspaper: Reusing your newspaper after reading

You've read the local news and seen the photography on the Brainerd Dispatch's or Echo Journal's front page, admired the talents of local student-athletes, checked the weather, perused the obituaries, kept tabs on what's happening at the Capitol ...

Monday, April 22, marks Earth Day, a day established 49 years ago to celebrate the planet's environment and raise awareness about pollution. Photo illustration by Metro News Service
Monday, April 22, marks Earth Day, a day established 49 years ago to celebrate the planet's environment and raise awareness about pollution. Photo illustration by Metro News Service

You've read the local news and seen the photography on the Brainerd Dispatch's or Echo Journal's front page, admired the talents of local student-athletes, checked the weather, perused the obituaries, kept tabs on what's happening at the Capitol and elsewhere in the state, took advice from Abby, completed the crossword and searched the classifieds for that must-have piece of lawn equipment.

Now what? You could toss it in the recycling bin-but with so many other potential uses for newspaper, why not let the Brainerd Dispatch or Echo Journal continue to serve you in new ways? In honor of the 49th anniversary of Earth Day, here's 30 ways to reuse newspaper.

Around the house

• Cleaning windows-Instead of paper towels or rags, reach for a folded-up newspaper. Many consider this a way to accomplish a more streak-free shine.

• Protecting the floor while painting-No matter how careful you are, it's hard not to drip or spray flecks of paint while working on this home improvement project. Get the newspaper full of paint instead.

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• Starting fires-A great way to get those backyard blazes going along with kindling.

• Packing material-Whether packing to move, to mail or just to store for the season, newspaper makes for excellent material to keep possessions from breaking.

• Gift wrap-An economical alternative to traditional gift wrap. Head for the comics page or photography layouts for colorful and fun wrapping.

• Holding shape of items-Use crumpled newspaper to help items keep their shape, such as tall boots, purses or bags. Just stuff them full of paper until they're the shape you want.

• Ripening fruit-Wrap bananas, tomatoes, pears and other fruits requiring additional ripening in newspaper. This will encourage faster ripening, similar to enclosing in a paper bag.

• Cleaning fish-Prepare the day's catch on yesterday's news.

• Insulation-If you've ever owned an older home, you may have run across newspaper insulation. While it's fallen out of favor for other methods, it may work well for smaller projects or outbuildings.

• Cleaning up broken glass-Use newspaper to wrap larger pieces of broken glass, and dampen the paper and wipe to collect smaller pieces.

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• Pet cage lining-Easy clean-up for the treasures your small pets leave behind.

• Housetraining dogs-Puppies are a joy, but they're also a lot of work. While training them where it's appropriate to relieve themselves, newspaper can come in handy to prevent carpet stains and other unfortunate mishaps.

• Swatting flies-The classic. Swat flies with the best of them with a rolled up newspaper.

Making art

• Origami-Try your hand at the art of paper folding. Turn a favorite story into a favorite creature.

• Papier-mache-The possibilities are endless with this paper art. Make masks, sculptures, pinatas or anything else you can imagine.

• Paper hats-Not limited to the classic sailor hat. Try Easter bonnets, graduation caps, kitty ears, nurse's caps and more.

• Textbook covers-Make a textbook your own by covering it with sheets of newspaper or a collage of images.

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• Garland or wreaths-A plethora of ideas for turning newspaper into decorative paper crafts can be found online. Try searching Pinterest for "newspaper garland" or "newspaper wreath," and you'll be astounded and maybe even inspired by people's creativity.

• Weaving baskets-When rolled tightly, newspaper can become a sturdy weaving material. Keep the look of the newspaper and protect with polyurethane, or finish with paint for a complete transformation.

• Coasters-Using the same principle as weaving, tightly rolled paper can be used to make sturdy coasters for glasses in a dizzying array of designs.

• Jewelry-Paper beads, small papier-mache cutouts, woven bracelets, tightly wrapped coiled paper pendants-take some of the other techniques already mentioned and fashion interesting accessories.

• Christmas bulbs-Whether coiled, woven or papier-mache, ornaments made from newspaper for the Christmas tree are a fun way to craft for the holiday.

• Creating collages or scrapbooks-Use images and stories from the paper to craft collages or add to scrapbooks.

• Lining table for other projects-Exhausted all possible newspaper craft options? Still bring it out to line your workspace and prevent spills and stains from other craft projects.

In the yard

• Seed-starting pots-These can be made in one of two ways-using a small, wooden gardener's tool called a paper pot maker, or by employing origami to create a standing pot. Typically these pots can be planted straight into the ground, because newspaper is biodegradable.

• Weed barrier-Instead of spending cash on landscaping fabric, line the base of garden beds with newspaper instead to create a weed barrier.

• Seed packets-Saving seeds from the garden? Fold pieces of newspaper into small seed packets for safe keeping.

• Cutworm collars-It's a terrible feeling to find your garden seedlings have fallen victim to cutworms, a pest notorious for killing young plants by gnawing through their tender stems. Protect them with a collar made from newspaper-just a small piece, buried an inch into the ground and rising about 2 inches above ground, should be enough to deter the voracious worms. No need to remove as they will biodegrade as the season goes on.

• Sleeping bag liner-Keep your sleeping bag free from moisture and dirt by first lining the ground with newspaper when camping.

• Compost-Still have some left over after all these ideas? Shred up your newspaper and throw it in the compost pile.

Newspapers can serve a plethora of functions once read. Chelsey Perkins / Brainerd Dispatch
Newspapers can serve a plethora of functions once read. Chelsey Perkins / Brainerd Dispatch

Related Topics: BRAINERD DISPATCH
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