Ways to Reuse Newspapers

Newspapers are versatile and useful in many ways. Of course, you can always recycle newspapers in the paper bin, but before you do, why not give them another use? Not only is this a more green alternative, you will have an opportunity to get creative.

The newspaper has a long and complex history, beginning with the printing press and evolving into what we see on the stands today. The first true American newspaper was introduced in 1690 when Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick was published in Boston. The publisher, Benjamin Harris, was arrested for including political criticism and all known copies of the newspaper were destroyed.

Newspapers require many natural resources including wood pulp, ink, and energy to print them. Gasoline and electricity are also needed to deliver and coordinate shipping of the newspapers. In 2018, newspapers had a recycling rate of 64.8% and while this is a good starting point, there is definitely room for improvement. For starters, if we can reuse newspapers and repurpose them before tossing them into the recycling bin, we can help increase their lifetime. Many materials, especially paper, have a limit until they can no longer be recycled. Therefore, let’s work together to reduce our waste and impact on our environment starting with these few ideas.

Clean windows

Using newspaper to clean windows works better than a cloth for preventing streaks. Pro tip: use a vinegar and water solution instead of a chemical cleaner. For more eco-conscious cleaning ideas, read this article.

Seedling pot

Layer several sheets of newspaper on top of each other and shape them into a makeshift container for germinating seedlings. The best part? The newspaper is compostable so you can plant the container straight into a larger pot or the ground.

Barbecue cleaner

Once you finish using the grill, allow it to cool a little while you soak the newspaper in water. Lay the sheets of paper over the grill and close the lid for an hour. Simply remove the paper and wipe the grill clean.

Packing material

Newspaper is a great substitute for bubble wrap. Wrap your fragile items individually and place them in a box. Fill the remaining space with crumpled paper. This idea also works with shredded paper.


Newspapers are great fire starters since they are thin. Use them to start a bonfire, grill, or campfire.

Shape keeper

Help maintain your shoes and bags’ shapes by stuffing them with crumpled newspaper whenever you are not using them.

Ripen tomatoes

Wrap green tomatoes in old newsprint, place them in a box, and cover with a lid. They will ripen into a bright red color.

Shoe deodorizer

Newspapers are good deodorizers. Crumple them into balls and stuff them into smell shoes or anywhere with musty odors.

Book cover

Newspaper works just as well as store-bought covers for books. Here are some instructions.


Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022

Photo Credits: https://www.britannica.com/topic/newspaper

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