To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated. Newspapers have a million ways of being useful and some of them have nothing at all to do with being black and white and read all over.
Let me give you a few examples.
“Fix a flat tire,” advises Michelle Hainer, of the Washington Post. “If you get a tear
in your bike tire while riding, fold a quarter page of newspaper into a square big enough (and thick enough) to cover the hole. Slip the paper between tube and tire. Inflate the tube enough to hold the paper in place, then put the tire back on its rim and inflate the tube fully. This quick fix should keep you going for several miles.”
Hainer has a few more suggestions for constructive application of newspapers including the following:
“Ripen tomatoes. Wrap green tomatoes individually in a couple of sheets of newspaper. Store in an airtight container in a dark place at room temperature. Check them every three to four days,” she writes.
The material can also be used to keep weeds out of your garden. “Layer three to four sheets of newspaper next to your plants (at least two inches away from the stems to prevent rotting) and then water the entire area. Add a top layer of mulch, grass clippings or straw. The newspaper blocks sunlight – which weeds need to grow – and will help keep the soil moist,” says Hainer.
Make-Stuff.com also recognizes valid, positive, practical benefits to extend the life of the paper. Among them: “Glass cleaner. After you wash your windows or mirrors with soap and water or regular glass cleaner, wipe the glass with a piece of crumpled newspaper for a streak-free shine.”
It recognizes the health benefits of newspapers as well. “One trick used by baseball pitchers and mountain climbers to strengthen their fingers and forearms is to lay a single sheet of newspaper on a flat surface and then lay their hand, palm down, in the center. Using only that hand, begin crumpling the newspaper and see how small a ball you can crumple it into. This is a great inexpensive rehab technique for those who have suffered hand injuries or strokes,” according to Kelley Mitchell who contributed this idea to Make-Stuff.
Other well-known practical functions for newspapers include: cheap insulation, pot holders, giftwrap, sop or sponge, packing material, kite material, hat material, garden mulch, odor remover, dress patterns, garbage can liners, vegetable drawer liner, papier mache, pet litter liner, workspace cover, and fire starters – to name a few.
I am sure there are many, many more wonderful and interesting things you can find to do with this very newspaper. Please let me know about your favorite.