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Recycle old newspapers

By Greg Summers

These days, you want the most for your money. Now that you’ve clipped all the coupons and recipes, finished the crossword puzzle and gleaned every valuable nugget of information from the previous edition of The Lancaster News, what do you do with what’s left? Here are a few green suggestions on how to reuse and recycle your newspaper.

1. Compost

Newspaper is an essential ingredient in any compst pile. Shred or tear it and just work it in. Most inks are made of soy and mineral oils that break down with little or no trouble. It can also be ground up and used for mulch. Worms love it and newspaper will turn garden soil rich and black when combined with other composted ingredients.

2. Weed deterrent

Why invest in a ground-covering fabric to kill grass and weeds when newspaper can accomplish the same thing? Just put the newspaper down, then wet it to block light from the grass. Mulch over it, and in a few months you have a bed ready for planting, no herbicide or backbreaking sod cutting necessary.

3. Germinate seeds

To germinate seeds for your spring garden, spread the seeds between damp sheets of newspaper.

4. Wrapping paper

Use specific sections of newspaper that correspond to the gift or personality of the recipient for wrapping. For example, if giving a gift to an accountant, use the business section. Wrap home-related items in the lifestyle or decorating section. Use the sports pages to wrap gifts for golfers and ball players.

5. Get rid of odors

You can deodorize a plastic storage container that onions or garlic were stored in with newspaper. Just wash the container thoroughly, stuff a crumpled piece of newspaper in it and snap on the lid. In a few days the smell will disappear.

6. Peel potatoes

Before peeling potatoes and other vegetables, line the sink or counter with old newspaper. Peel the vegetables over the newsprint then crumple it up and throw it away when you are done. It saves time and effort collecting the peelings.

7. Dry shoes

Newspaper is great at absorbing excess moisture. Rip up some old newspaper and ball it up into the shape of your shoe. Loosen the laces and keep filling the shoe with newspaper until it won’t hold anymore. If possible, leave the shoes near a heat source overnight to dry. When necessary, take the old newspaper out of the shoes and repeat the process.

8. Make a pinata

Using balloons as a pinata form, cover with strips of newspaper dipped in a thin mixture of flour and water. Allow to harden. Insert a pin to pop the balloon. Make a small hole and decorate your form. Then fill with candy and treats.

9. Clean the windows

Don’t ask why, but crumpled newspaper makes mirrors and windows shine. Just spray the surface with your favorite glass cleaner and use them as you would regular paper towels.