recycle newspapers

Newspapers, we read them and then pitch them into the recycling bin right? But did you know there are some uses for those plain old newspapers? Just think of this as the "reuse" part of the recycling and you can help with your carbon footprint and the environment.

Here are Four great uses for newspapers:

1. Ripen tomatoes

Do you get a bushel full of green tomatoes, especially after a summer storm? Yes there are recipes that use green tomatoes, but if you would prefer that they ripen and become a red tomato, then here is what you do. Wrap each tomato with a piece of newspaper, then either leave on your counter, or put in a box somewhere to let them finish ripening. Check them after a few days and you should see them changing.

2. Get rid of smells

Do you ever get that "not so nice" smell in plastic containers? Now that we are all trying to reduce reuse and recycle, many of us are using sandwich containers for our lunches and for storing food. But no matter how many times we wash them, they can end up with some smells. Rather than go back to baggies, just take some sheets of newspaper and crumple them up to fit the plastic container. Put the lid on and leave them overnight.

Take out the newspapers the next morning, give your containers a quick rinse, and the smells should be gone. The newspaper absorbs the smells overnight. This saves you from using strong cleaners on your plastic containers, and you can now recycle the newspapers having used them twice!

3. Killing grass

If you have some tender shrubs that are growing closer and closer together, but there is still grass growing in between, then you can kill off this grass and make it one big bed rather than trying to get your clippers or your lawn mower into this area. All you need to do is spread out a few layers of newspaper and then top with 3 inches or so of mulch. This will kill off the grass, rather than you trying to take the grass off and risk hurting the roots of your tender shrubs.

The added bonus, is a nice trim looking flower and shrub bed, and after watering or a rain, the bed will retain moisture and the grass will die off. This works well in new beds as well. If you have just dug up a new flower bed, then you can plant your flowers or shrubs and then layer newspaper around them and cover with mulch, this will help keep down the weeds that tend to show up in newly turned over gardens.

I use this tip all the time. It has saved me hours in the garden. I actually keep a box for my newspapers as I read them, in the garden shed, just for these times.

4. Shine up glass

You can clean mirrors and windows with newspapers. Use a vinegar and water combination and dip your newspapers in the solution and wipe the window or mirror, then use dry newspapers to shine up the glass. This saves on countless paper towels. Or you can purchase a shower squeegee and use this for the washing and then the newspapers for the final shine up!