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Our 27th year of publishing

Published March 23, 2021

Newspapers are not just for reading

Fancy gifts in specialty shops are made from your daily (or weekly) paper

By John Toth / The Bulletin

Old newspapers have many uses, and I have listed some of them in this column before. But recently I came upon a use that had never occurred to me.

I happened upon it while perusing a gift shop with my wife and daughter, who has an affinity for quaint neighborhood shops, even if the neighborhood is high-priced and the shop doesn’t have a blue light special on Tuesdays.

To be fair, she is a smart shopper and seldom buys anything in these stores. Dad buys. Dad would rather stay outside and catch up on the latest electronic gadget sales, but being dad requires that I accompany her inside, where I know that not a single offering has a USB port attached to it.

That’s how I came across a new use for old newspapers (new to me, anyway) - gift items made totally from recycled newspapers.

Newspaper necklaces, ornaments, jewelry, gift bags and medallion boxes, sold by Ten Thousand Villages, a non-profit that supports thousands of artisans in developing countries.

A great idea - the creation of a product with no raw materials costs. Just think - the newspaper you read today could be hanging in someone’s ear tomorrow, or decorating a Christmas tree during the holidays. Why didn’t I think of this?

Daughter called me over to the area of the store where these items were displayed. I picked up one of the coasters and examined it from close up. “Look, it’s one of my columns,” I said to see if anyone was listening.

“If you missed it when it came out, you can just buy one of these.”

The only problem is that The Bulletin is free, and these products are not.

A set of four coasters and a holder for them sell for $18.99; the “Daily News Mini Mat” is $8.99; and the ornaments are $10.99 each.

The prices are not outrageous, but it’s just a newspaper rolled up, glued together and waterproofed. The pieces do look nice, and I probably should have picked up a set of coasters. But by the time it occured to me, we were outside the store and heading towards the parking lot. Maybe next time.

Entrepreneurship is great. The sky’s the limit, even when it comes to toilet paper and Skittles. A guy who just got out of prison is making roses from toilet paper and Skittles. I hope it’s selling like hotcakes.

I saw a picture on Facebook of a dog eating a wedding cake. The dog was part of the cake. It looked so real. Imagination has no limits. I’d pay money for that cake, but I would have a hard time cutting into it, especially the cute dog part.

I never thought of putting a few leftover papers aside instead of recycling them and making something that we could sell. I would start with something simple, like a doorstop for $3.99.

If you missed an issue of The Bulletin, just get down on the floor and read your door stop.

Try to do this with your computer. Wait, what’s this? A picture frame made from old circuit boards? Digital is catching up.

Try wrapping fish in them, though, or breakable items when you’re moving. The tried and tested uses for newspapers are still going strong.

A woman recently saw that I was holding a bundle of the latest Bulletins in my hand as I was entering a business and asked if she could have all of them. A really big Bulletin fan, I thought.

“I’m moving,” she said

“No, you can’t have these. They’re current. And don’t go in there taking them all out after I leave,” I warned her.

“But I need to wrap my dishes in them,” she said.

I asked her to come to my van, and I gave her some of the previous week’s leftovers. She took them, thanked me and left. Then I hung around the store to make sure she didn’t go back and take the current issues.

Out of curiosity, I Googled “uses for old newspaper” and came up with what seemed like hundreds of them, including how to make a wastepaper basket out of newspaper - so I can throw newspapers in it.

All these are great uses, dear reader, but what you’re doing right now is the best use of all.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)