Recycle, renew, reuse. These are words we hear often. Unfortunately, many of us don't take these words seriously enough. Our natural resources are disappearing at an alarming rate. Still only a small percentage of people are responding to this threat. This article discusses one simple item that is taken for granted. That article is the humble daily newspaper. For those who don't know or pretend not to, the newspaper is made from trees. Trees give us life. Without them there would be no air to breathe.
The American public is just now coming around to the realization that we must recycle, reuse, and renew in order for our children and grandchildren to have a chance at a normal life. We live in a disposable society. The problem is if we don't stop, we will soon be disposing of ourselves.
An astounding amount of trees are felled to bring us our daily newspaper and to make other paper products. It's true that we don't rely on the newspaper as much as we used to. Still, doesn't it make sense that we should reuse, renew, or recycle the newspapers we do get? What happens to the newspaper when we are done with it? Has it even been read before being thrown away?
Don't get the newspaper every day. Get it only on the days when there is time to read it. Remember to keep a stack to recycle, reuse, and renew. When the stack gets big enough, take it to the local grocery store and deposit it in the recycle bin for newspapers.
There will be opportunities to re-use newspapers as well. Once it is reused, return the newspaper to the stack if it is still in recyclable condition. Incidentally, the stack can also contain all those ridiculous political fliers and junk mail. These are paper too. Here are just a few ideas for reusing the stack of paper.
Newspaper makes an excellent packing material. Reuse it by putting sheets between breakable items. Crumple single sheets to stuff cups, bowls, and vases. After unpacking, back it goes into the recycle pile.
Reuse newspaper in the garden. Newspaper is an essential ingredient for any compost pile. Shred or tear it and work it in. Worms love it and it will turn the garden soil a rich, healthy black, when combined with other composted ingredients.
Another way to reuse newspaper in the garden is as a mulch or weed deterrent. Cover the area between plantings with multiple layers of newspaper. It is biodegradable and adds to next years compost. Reuse newspaper as a covering for plants in cold weather too.
In a fireplace, re-use your old newspaper as a fire starter or log. This will save on wood burning, which also saves trees. Yes, newspapers can be used as logs on a fire. Just roll tightly and bind with cotton string. They will burn about an hour.
Newspaper makes an excellent drop cloth for painting and craft projects. When done, reuse it again, for the same purpose, or another. Don't throw it away, recycle it!
Reuse newspaper for craft projects with the kids. Kites, hats, paper mache creations, paper dolls, origami, paper chains, pirate spyglasses and many more play items can be made from newspaper. Kids even enjoy coloring on it.
Newspaper absorbs dampness and odors. Reuse it by stuffing it in shoes overnight. Newspaper keeps mud and snow from being tracked in. Put it down in the entryway when kids are playing outside. They can leave their muddy or snowy wet gear and shoes right there.
There are many more reuse ideas for old newspaper. Use your imagination. There's no excuse for just throwing things away. Be a part of the solution by doing your part to conserve. There's not an option any more. Reuse, renew, recycle, it's necessary for survival!
Portions of this article were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.