Newspaper has been an easy place to start. Not only is it ubiquitous--I, for one, have piles of it in the foyer, most of which never gets read--it can also be repurposed in a multitude of ways. (Disclaimer: Like a good green consumer, I read my news online. But a neighbor of mine is a reporter, and she gets a paper delivered every day.) Here are five ways to give your daily news a second life:
Clean your windows. Don't ask why, but crumpled newspaper makes mirrors and glass shine. Just spray the surface with your favorite glass cleaner and use them as you would regular paper towels. One caveat: Since newspaper isn't terribly absorbent, it's best to use less cleaning spray. You won't need much, anyway.
Substitute shredded or crumpled paper for Styrofoam. Instead of using non-recyclable, petroleum-based Styrofoam peanuts to pack items for shipping, run sheets of newspaper through a paper shredder to create stuffing material, or just crumple them into loose balls for extra padding.
Store fragile dishware. When putting away fine china, place folded squares of newspaper between plates and bowls to protect them. Wrap the whole stack in another sheet before placing them in fabric cases or boxes.
Start a barbecue. Charcoal chimneys (like this one) are inexpensive and make lighting the grill a breeze. But instead of soaking the briquettes in chemical lighter fluid, as many do, try lighting them using newspaper instead. Just crumple a few sheets and stuff them in the bottom section of the chimney, then fill the top portion with charcoal. Light the paper and the briquettes will light themselves.
Make "tablecloths." Sloppy meals (in my house, boiled lobster makes a legendary mess) and kids' art projects call for casual table coverings. Just spread out a few sheets of the Sunday comics, set your fixings on top, and feel free to leave your manners behind.
© The Green Guide, 2008
By Donna Garlough