How to Repurpose Old Newspapers into Eco-Friendly Insulation

How to Repurpose Old Newspapers into Eco-Friendly Insulation

Why Repurpose Newspapers into Insulation?

Newspapers are one of the most commonly recycled materials, but there are even more eco-friendly ways to repurpose them. Converting old newspapers into insulation is a great way to reuse this material rather than sending it to the landfill. Some key benefits of repurposing newspapers into insulation include:

  • Reducing waste – Repurposing old newspapers keeps them out of landfills. The average American household throws away 13,000 separate issues of newspapers each year. Turning them into insulation gives these unwanted papers a new life.

  • Energy efficiency – Newspaper insulation provides an effective barrier against heat transfer and drafts. Adding it to walls, attics, etc. can improve your home’s energy efficiency and lower utility bills.

  • Noise reduction – The dense, compressed stacks of newspaper dampen sound vibrations throughout a building. Newspaper insulation offers noise control and acoustic performance.

  • Fire resistance – Surprisingly, newspaper insulation meets fire code standards. The ink printing makes it fire resistant, unlike some other DIY insulation options.

  • Cost savings – Making your own newspaper insulation is far cheaper than buying traditional fiberglass batting. And it lowers your future energy costs too.

With all these practical benefits, repurposing newspaper waste into insulation is an easy, eco-friendly choice for your home improvement projects.

What You’ll Need to Make Newspaper Insulation

Transforming old newspapers into insulation requires just a few simple supplies:

  • Newspapers – Lots of them! Start saving papers several weeks in advance to accumulate enough. Focus on collecting the content sections, not the glossy ad inserts.

  • Wire mesh or chicken wire – This will make the frame to hold the newspaper batts in place. Get wire mesh with 1/2 to 1 inch openings.

  • Cardboard – Collect cardboard boxes to use as outer covers for the insulation. This protects the batts and keeps everything tidy.

  • Staple gun and staples – A staple gun allows you to permanently attach the chicken wire frame to the cardboard covers.

  • Cellophane tape – Use clear packing tape to seal up any seams or gaps between pieces of cardboard.

  • Scissors or box cutter – Useful for custom sizing the wire and cardboard to fit each insulation space.

  • Work gloves – Wear thick work gloves to protect your hands from cuts when handling wire mesh.

  • Safety goggles – Goggles keep newsprint dust out of your eyes during the shredding process.

With these supplies on hand, you’re ready to start converting old papers into insulation for a fraction of the cost of commercial options.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Newspaper Insulation

Follow these steps to transform your saved newspapers into eco-friendly insulation for your home:

1. Shred the Newspaper

Use an electric leaf shredder, paper shredder, or even a blender to shred the newspapers into small pieces. Try to get the shreds around 1-2 inches in size. Breaking down the papers makes them easier to densely pack together.

Tip: Wear safety goggles and a dust mask to protect yourself from newsprint dust during shredding. Also open windows to ventilate.

2. Build a Frame

Cut the chicken wire fencing to size so it matches the insulation area you want to fill. Staple wire mesh into a box frame shape. Make sure there are no sharp wires sticking out. Wear thick work gloves when handling the wire to avoid cuts.

3. Cover with Cardboard

Cut cardboard pieces to size and staple them to the outside of the wire frame, creating a enclosed batting. Leave one side open for now. Use packaging tape to seal the cardboard seams.

4. Pack with Newspaper

Pack the chicken wire frame fully with the shredded newspaper batts. Compress the insulation tightly to remove air pockets.

5. Close It Up

Once fully packed, staple a final cardboard piece to seal up the open side. Tape down any remaining seams or gaps with clear cellophane tape.

6. Install the Insulation

Place your completed newspaper insulation bats into the desired spaces. Friction fit them between wall studs, ceiling joists, etc. Use additional staples to securely attach them.

Follow proper fire safety codes and don’t overload electrical circuits when using newspaper insulation. With these precautions, your repurposed newspaper insulation will effectively conserve energy in your home!

Tips for Maximizing Effectiveness

Here are some handy tips to ensure your newspaper insulation performs at optimal efficiency:

  • Mix in some borax powder – Borax fortifies the fire and pest resistance. Use 1 part borax per 5 parts shredded newspaper.

  • Overlap seams when installing – Make sure insulation seams overlap each other to prevent heat loss through gaps.

  • Use good masking – Seal any visible insulation completely with cardboard, drywall, paneling, etc. This improves appearance and containment.

  • Inspect for settlement – Check back after a few weeks to fluff up and add more insulation if it has settled. Top it off to maintain dense packing.

  • Ensure proper ventilation – When using newspaper insulation in enclosed spaces, allow for air circulation to prevent moisture issues.

  • Limit compressed stacks – In floor spaces, keep the insulation layers under 2 feet tall to prevent excessive weight on the flooring.

With a bit of trial and error, you’ll get the hang of crafting durable, effective newspaper insulation that cuts energy costs and keeps unwanted papers out of landfills. Get creative repurposing all of those old newspapers cluttering up your recycle bin!