woman reading a newspaper while drinking a coffee

8 ways to reuse newspapers

Instead of sending your newspaper straight for recycling after you’ve read it, why not give it a new lease of life first instead?

You’ll be surprised at the number of uses an old newspaper can have. Try one of our eight suggestions below.

1. Packing material for parcels

Instead of buying brand new padded envelopes or bubble wrap, simply reuse an old box and fill it with scrunched up unwanted newspaper to protect whatever you are sending through the mail.

Not only does this save you money and reuse your newspapers, but it’s also far kinder to the environment and a plastic-free packaging solution.

Wrap fragile items individually with the newspaper, then line the box with crumpled paper and place the items inside with scrunched up paper between each. Don’t leave any space for the items to move around inside the box. Top with more crumpled paper and you’re good to go.

2. Cat litter box lining

If you have a cat litter box in your house, then the chances are you get through a lot of cat litter.

The problem is often the urine, but you can make your litter last longer by using an absorbent tray liner underneath the litter — and newspaper makes the perfect liner.

When saturated, simply swap it out with a new newspaper liner.

3. Papier-mâché

A child doing paper mache using newspaper

If you have kids, then you can have loads of fun on a rainy afternoon by making papier-mâché.

All you need is a pile of old newspapers, flour, and water — and then paints to decorate — and you can create all manner of objects together, from storage pots to animals.

4. Gift-wrap

While shop-bought gift-wrap is lovely, it is expensive and often features foil or glitter — rendering it unrecyclable.

Whether you’re trying to be more eco-friendly, want to save money, or don’t have time to pop to the shop — wrap your gifts in newspaper and you’ll be doing your wallet and the planet a favour.

5. Compost

Compost heaps love a moderate amount of shredded, moist newspaper being added to them so, if you have an excess of newspaper you can use some up by mixing it with the contents of your food waste caddy and popping it in your compost bin.

6. Seedling pots

small plants inside newspaper pots

It is surprisingly simple to make pots for seedlings from old newspaper.

This is a great reuse idea as you often need many pots when germinating seedlings and the shop-bought alternatives tend to be manufactured from a fairly weak plastic that can break easily.

When this happens, they often end up in the bin.

So, try newspaper pots instead this spring. Even better, you can plant them directly into the ground when the time comes.

7. Lining drawers and shelves

Shelf and drawer liners often require regular replacement so why not replace the shop-bought plastic variety with newspaper?

Paper is absorbent for any spills and is particularly helpful for cupboards that store mucky items like shoes.

If you got mud on a shop-bought liner, you’d have to clean it or buy a replacement, but with newspaper you can just replace it quickly and easily with another sheet of repurposed paper.

8. Shape maintainer

Shoes, boots and bags can lose their shape when not in use or when stored in cramped conditions.

However, you can combat this issue entirely simply by balling up some newspaper and stuffing it inside the item to create the ideal shape.

Some people also purposely stretch their shoes to make them fit better by overstuffing them with newspaper.

Do you have any other tips for reusing newspaper before it’s sent for recycling? Let us know in the comments!

Published by

Lucy Ravenhall

Lucy is a long-standing editor of the Forge Recycling blog and loves writing about her environmental passions.