Paper Power !!

As a society, we are master innovators. And we can teach a thing or two to the world about recycling. Newspapers used as a a duster, impromptu seat cover, bed sheet etc is common place.

This gent has the newspaper folded in to his back pocket. Please desist from interpreting it as some kind of symbolic placement making a statement on the quality of current day journalism : By placing it in the rear !

No. No. Our newspapers kick ass.

Really ! Just try reading one. Any one !

This gent is all set to unfold his newspaper as soon as he gets to a bus station, lay it out on dusty seat in the bus shelter and sit down. And because his rear isn’t going to take a whole lot of paper, he can exercise choice to continue reading other sections of the newspaper which are not obscured by his rear.

Like global parliamentary proceedings. And going by what transpires in the parliaments of the world, increase his ‘general’ vocabulary and better understand techniques of martial arts!

Actually, the list around innovations with newspapers is endless. I invite you, dear reader, to share your experiences as well !! Well, tissue paper shortages are well chronicled. So lets not go there.

Kavi’s Musings had commissioned a research on ‘top of the mind supplementary use of the newspapers’. This was an in-person impromptu research conducted on very heavy recyclers. And here are the results.

Top areas of newspaper recycle are :

a. ‘Garbage Collection tray’ lining

b. Wrapping of take aways in restaurants & making of paper plates

c. Making a statement to the neighbours on recycling ( Goes well with a Greenpeace T-shirt)

d. Making a statement to the neighbours & colleagues ( Carrying Business newspapers in your hand. And bringing them back home. Without reading)

f. Floor mat on trains when you travel long distance without a confirmed ticket

g. To be put to use on / by children for a multiple set of uses. ( Art from Waste,Sketching, Erasing, Tearing up to kill boredom etc )

h. To be used as a fly swatter on flies & other pests. Used for the same purpose on irritating, irresponsible, ‘Humvee’ riding husbands !

The survey respondents were told that the results to this survey was to be kept completely confidential. Any resemblance to any person, real, digital, living or dead is purely, well, almost co-incidental !

So, go ahead. Please feel free to share. What else can people do with their newspaper !?!

19 thoughts on “Paper Power !!

  1. My long time favorite is present wrapping.

  2. Aleta says:

    I like present wrapping as well. Just yesterday I used the newspaper to help store away delicate glasses and other breakable items. We want to store those items for a yard sale and don’t want them to break, so the newspaper comes in very handy!

  3. I’ve never really used it this way but they say, crumpled newspapers doused with vinegar is the best to clean mirrors…

  4. arun says:

    hey kav’s,
    i still remember our good ol’ muniyandi vilas at the junction near pandian hotel. they used to have a s shaped hook on which newspaper cut as napkins used to hang from. i guess that was a splendid example of recycling.a discussion once ensued(much later than our vmj days) about what paper would be the best in absorption. it is said the dina thanthi won hands down beating the poor likes of the indian express and the the hindu.

    Much recently,our workplace like all else had to cut down a lot of things because of the of the first casualties, the humble paper napkin that hangs from a plastic contraption that makes you want to pull more one of our TN friends suggested that same ol idea from the days of yore.mmm…told em that was invented long ago in the gentle and humble streets of my madurai.

    good one!

  5. ~nm says:

    1. To fan yourself when power goes out.

    2. To spread on the carpet as a place-mat when you don’t want to eat on the dining table but want to sit on the floor.

    3. I make a kite for him by tying a thread at one end 😀

    These are that came to me instantly but am sure there will be other way too.

  6. Ganesh says:


    In most homes newspaper is spread out on the bottom of shelves where we keep our clothes or containers.

    During my dubai days we spread the newspaper on the carpet and then sat on top of it to have our lunch/dinner. saved the cost of getting our carpet regularly shampooed.

  7. manju says:

    Some great ideas here! I confess, I have never considered newspapers as the subject of a research project. 🙂

  8. You ask Indian housewives, they use the newspapers extensively in the kitchen and most of them are innovative :-
    – as a plate for cutting vegetables, on the shelves,
    – i have ssen people using it strangely and shockingly under the gas stove as they find that area difficult to clean, so they can trash it once it is dirty
    – for placing the cylinder to avoid stain

    sorry i dont visit our kitchen too often and my observation is limited.

  9. Swatantra says:


    Good post!

    It made me laugh, as in our home Siddharth makes Boat or airplanes with it and i do quite a few things like use it in the kitchen while making chapatis by spreading on the shelf, best use is to clean glass(dining table, mirror etc..) with spray of water or some liquid like see spray…

    Another thing is i always keep the old newspaper stacked nicely and sell them or give it to my maid. The money earned is put into a piggy bank for the same i call it as money earned from Raddi.. ( raddi is a word we use in Punjab for the old newspaper and magazines)

    I liked your idea of asking people to share! Great!

    Thanks, i enjoyed sharing!

  10. In spite of all the uses, i still like using it for the purpose it is created.READING. Even recycled newspapers & magazine sheets given as covers in Medical stores have some interesting information. I’ve always found interesting information on newspapers bits.

    Try looking carefully the next time Kavi,before it goes to the dustbin or the raddiwala. you may find inspiration for your post!

  11. Using the newspapers as a disposable tablecloth was fairly routine, when we stayed in one room of a staff hostel, which would hold either a dining table or us, but not both. So a knee high kadapa contraption which excelled as a coffee table was decently covered with layers of newspaper . Plates were set, and we needed no special hot utensil pads etc. Sitting crosslegged, you could read while eating, find sensational news beneath the daal, cinema ads below the rice, and more interesting stuff if you lifted the whole plate;and when you were through, the stuff was gathered and thrown away. A new newspaper, a new day. And guests (including finicky in-laws) who came to this unusual dinner loved it.

    Incidentally, did I tell you that bhel tastes completely superior when eaten on newspaper pieces, at the bhelwalas, with cardboard pieces as spoons. Try eating the same on Corel plates and fancy spoons, and you will know what I mean…:-)

  12. Since the spouse is a jounalist, as a devoted wife, my first duty is to READ the bloody (pun intended) papers.

    And then, a multiplicity of uses, from covering the book I’m currently reading (keeps the actual cover in better shape)
    to keeping it on the floor to cut/ peel vegetables on (easier to clean up the mess).

    And then the final call to the raddiwallah to earn a few bucks.

  13. To wrap Pakodas/Samosas.

  14. nsiyer says:

    Kavi! the thought that passed my mind was what would happen in a paperless world.
    What would the whole of Kerala do? Yeah! interesting. No more bandhs, no more more political talks, and the unending cups of tea in the tea shop. They will actually start working.

  15. Jeevan says:

    This complete awareness on recycling papers kavi!

    Rubbing with newspapers on windshield after water wash gives clear vision; and it more used by car painters for covering the unwanted places to stop from spread, wrapping books, to place undercover for neat shelves. Sleeping on newspapers gives warmth in cool temperature, which I used in days to bear cold weather.

  16. Braja says:

    The last thing I saw a newspaper used for was the cone I had for nasal Ayurvedic treatments yesterday :))

  17. Interesting post. We Indians do have some good ideas when it comes to reusing our resources. I have done a lot of using it in the train as bedsheet in unreserved. I have also used it as a shelf cover in cupboards in hostel or to pack puliyodharai or Lemon rice for that train journey.

  18. – Newspaper left on an empty seat in train or bus is a signature of “reserved seat” by newspaper owner.
    – Used as an umbarella during flash rains or double as shade in Summer sun
    – 10 Useful tips on Newspapers (
    – Another 10 useful tips:

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