Another Rethink - Refuse - Reuse, this time for all you gardeners out there.
Mulch is great. Mulch helps keep down moisture - reducing the need for watering. Mulch suppresses weeds - reducing the need for weeding and/or herbicides. You can mulch your garden with a myriad of natural and artificial materials, many of them extremely eco-friendly and available at a shop near you.
But what's eco-friendlier than not buying new stuff in the first place? It's temptingly easy to spend your energy shopping for the "greenest" solution to a problem, but it's even greener to use what you already have. Before you head to the garden center for a big bag of shredded mulch bark, take a look at that stack of old newspapers.
Shredded newspaper is fantastic at keeping moisture in and weeds at bay. It's more realistic for those of us with smaller gardens, and it's not the most decorative option, but it works wonders in vegetable gardens and around newly-established plants that need lots of water and TLC. Newspaper mulch is recommended by many gardeners, including the folks at Organic Gardening. Shredded or torn, it makes a nice airy mulch around plants. Or, if you're trying to eradicate stubborn weeds, put down a few layers of intact newspaper as a barrier.
Most newspapers today are printed with soy ink, but if you're unsure about what your local paper uses, don't hesitate to ask. (And if they're still using petroleum-based inks, encourage them to switch!)