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How new gardens and puppy messes can boost newspaper readership, plus other uses for old papers

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

One of our distributors was helping a friend to build a garden, and she wanted to use our left-over newspapers as liners.

Since we take back a few papers from our distribution points weekly – just a few – he asked if he could give her some of the old papers he picked up, and we agreed.

We recycle old papers, but this is an even better cause. Paper is made from trees, which are rooted in the earth. Our left-over papers would just be returned from where they came.

A few weeks later, he updated us on the woman and her garden. She didn’t need our papers anymore, but before she used them in her garden, she also started reading them, and liked what she saw.

Welcome to the Bulletin family, dear new reader. Hope your garden is doing well.

The SPCA of Brazoria County awhile back also asked if we could spare some old papers – for obvious reasons. We have been sending them a bag weekly. We support alternative uses of our product, and this is one of them – not glamorous, but necessary.

I’m not belittling the main benefit of The Bulletin, to inform and entertain weekly, but after you read it once, the paper becomes kind of useless. You may hold onto some special pages or sections to use as a guide, such as for hurricane season or a special event. But once they’re over, then it’s time to do something with those pages. We encourage finding an alternative use for the paper or recycling it rather than throwing it in the trash.

I’m proud of our product and put a lot of work into it weekly to make it the best we can. I cringe when I see a headline mistake or typographical errors in stories, but that’s part of the game. We do everything we can to reduce them, but every now and then they pop up.

But I also realize that this product has a limited lifespan.

“Do you have any old papers? I’m moving and need to wrap some glasses and cups,” said the caller.
We had some, but with flower beds and puppies, we were running short.

Try wrapping your cups and glasses in your iPad. Is there an app for house training a puppy? Probably, but you’ll also need newspapers.

Here are some other great ways to use old newspapers, according to what I found on the Internet machine:

Cleaning windows: Using newspaper to clean windows works better than a cloth for preventing streaks. For even better results, use a vinegar-and-water solution instead of a chemical cleaner.

Shelf lining: Use old papers to line your cabinet, dresser, pantry or bathroom shelves. They’re cheaper than store-bought shelf liners, and they’re easy to put in and replace.

Cat litter box liners: Place sheets of paper in the bottom of your cat’s box, under the litter. You’ll save on litter, and any odors and wetness will be absorbed.

Barbecue cleaner: Turn off the barbecue grill and allow it to cool a little. Soak newspaper in water, lay the sheets of paper over the warm barbecue grill, and close the lid for about an hour. Then simply remove the paper and wipe the grill clean.

Packing material: Newspaper is a great substitute for bubble wrap. To pack a box with fragile contents, first wrap the items individually. Place them in the box, separated by crumpled paper. Then fill any remaining space with crumpled paper.

Weed killer: If weeds are a problem in your garden, cover the flower beds with newspaper and soak them with water. Then cover the paper with compost or mulch. Eventually the paper will smother the weeds, and the organic matter will help your garden flourish.

Shape keeper: Ensure that your shoes and bags maintain their shape by stuffing them with crumpled newspaper after use.

Fruit and vegetable drawer liner: Place sheets of newspaper at the bottom of the fruit and vegetable drawer in your fridge. They will absorb any mess from rotten produce, and will also keep the drawer free from odors.

Gift wrapping: Wrap birthday gifts with old newspaper. If you have time, you can even cut thin strips to make a bow to top it all off.

There are many more, of course, but we’re out of space. Before you do any of the above, though, please read the newspaper, especially The Bulletin.