This stack of newspapers is a craft project just waiting to happen. With a few supplies, you could turn this pile into beads, place mats or logs for the fire.

©iStockphoto.com/Katie Molin

Paper accounts for one third of recycled materials in the United States [source: EPA]. We go through loads of it every day, tossing aside hundreds and hundreds of pages of newsprint alone.

Recycling is a great alternative to just trashing all that paper, but it's a bit boring -- beating it to a pulp and then washing it. Then there's still bleaching, strengthening, draining, flattening and drying, just to create some more paper [source: Grays Harbor]. Thankfully, if you want to recycle your newspapers yourself, you can skip that whole process and instead go for some fun, creative crafts.

Instead of taking that pile of newspapers to the recycling center, allow this article to inspire you. Create something new out of something old. Just as recycling newspapers saves the environment, you can save trees by transforming old newspapers into campfire logs. Not the outdoors type? Spend some time making jewelry of all sizes, shapes and colors. Preserve history by making effortless place mats with the kids. Or, get ready for the holidays or a party by making your own papier-mâché. All of these crafts take a bit of time, but you'll find your effort well spent. And all you need is your left over newspapers, a free afternoon and some crafting space.

Whether you're a crafter at heart, or just starting out, you can find some easy ways to be green -- while saving some green at the same time. To start, visit the next page to learn how to use newspaper for more than just a quick fire starter in your fireplace.