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Reuse Old News

Are your old newspapers piling up? Before tossing them in the recycle bin, consider the many ways you can reuse newspaper first.

Around your house, your garden, and even at school, newspaper can serve a new purpose.

In your garden, newspapers can serve as biodegradable planters. Using a bottle as your guide cut a straight line down the center of a sheet of newspaper.

Wrap the paper around the bottle and fold excess paper toward the bottom of the bottle. Next remove the paper from the bottle, keeping the bottom of the paper intact. Flatten the bottom with your fingers and quickly fill the paper ‘pot’ with soil to keep it steady. It is now ready to nest a seedling.

If weeds plague your garden, you can prevent their growth by blanketing the flowerbed with newspaper. Just lay newspaper three to five sheets deep atop the soil, leaving a hole for your plants to sprout through. Cover the newspaper with mulch or soil. This will shield the outermost layers of your garden and lessen weed invasions.

Like paper bags, newspaper can also extend a book’s life as a book cover. To start, spread out a section of newspaper a few sheets deep. Lay your textbook (or any hard cover book) in the center of your newspaper. If there is paper left above or below the book, fold it up (or down), making a crease along the cover. Now remove the book and fold the paper up at the bottom crease and down at the top crease. The paper should now be just big enough to cover your book. Place your book back in the center. From the left, fold the paper across the book and overlap it around the front flap. The paper should only cover one third to one half of the inner flap. Cut off any excess paper. With the paper pulled tight around the front cover of your book, tape it. Repeat for the back cover.

If you have cats, shredded newspaper makes an inexpensive alternative to cat litter. All you have to do is cut the paper into short strips or put it through a shredder. In fact, it is best to use newspaper in place of litter if your cat has recently been de-clawed or undergone any procedures involving the paws. This is so to prevent muddled cat litter from getting into your cat’s wound. Shredded newspaper won’t clump the way commercial cat litters do, although it is effective for absorbing fluids. If you prefer to use normal cat litter, newspaper can still be used to line the litter box in place of plastic liners. Just spread the paper, a few sheets deep, over the perimeter of the box, letting some hang over the sides for easy pick up. You may also want to fold the paper over the corners of the box to keep it in place.

For other pet friendly uses, newspaper serves as a spill absorbent mats to place their water bowls on.

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