If your family receives a daily paper, hopefully you are recycling it. And while that’s great, you can reduce waste and the use of natural resources by reusing some of that newspaper to replace products you would otherwise buy (especially since those products come wrapped in plastic…yuck). Note: Remember that while reusing your newspaper saves you money and natural resources that would be spent on other products, this only works if you are already receiving a daily newspaper. If you aren’t, you are better off just looking for recyclable/compostable/reusable versions of the things below.
Wrapping Paper: Wrapping paper can be really pretty and festive. But even though it’s “paper,” most isn’t recyclable! Think back to your last kid’s birthday party or family Christmas. All that crumpled wrapping paper is now sitting in a landfill. Now, people have always been using newspaper as last minute wrapping paper. Why not make it a permanent replacement for your wrapping paper? You won’t be paying (extra) for it and it can be recycled after the gift is open. I personally only like using the funny pages for wrapping paper, so if you have a big gift giving occasion coming up, you’ll want to make sure to save up enough.
Protecting: Newspaper is great to lay down to protect surfaces. Paint, pet cages, arts and crafts projects, etc. While most people are already aware of this option, make sure you have paper saved so that you can take advantage of it! Keep in mind that depending on what gets on the newspaper (even just food), it may not be recyclable anymore. However, newspaper is compostable. So if what you got on the newspaper (like food) is compostable, then the newspaper will still be compostable. As I will discuss later, this does not mean it is okay to send to the landfill. You will want to put it in a compost bin.
Cleaning: As I mentioned in an earlier post, newspaper is great for cleaning glass. It doesn’t leave lint and reduces the need for buying paper towels. I’m sure you could find uses for other cleaning jobs around the house, but newspaper soaked in cleaning supplies won’t be recyclable (but may be compostable depending on the cleaning supplies; if you are using 50/50 vinegar and water, it is safe to compost as long as you don’t add too much).
Packaging: If you need to wrap something, don’t wrap and cushion it with plastic and Styrofoam. Use newspaper! Better for the environment in every way.
Looks around your community for other ideas. For example, maybe your local preschool needs newspapers for craft projects. Also, try to find a way to reuse the plastic bags the paper sometimes comes it. Picking up pet droppings while on a walk, storing fruits and vegetables (from your garden or your could bring your own bag to the grocery store), whatever is thin enough to fit. And remember to take it to be recycled when you’re done (unless you did put feces in it).