A sustainable and free seedling pot.

Biodegradable Newspaper Seedling Pots: 5 Easy Steps

When it comes to sprucing up your house, garden, and health, a few plants can go a long, long way. It’s not just about improving your home’s aesthetic. Experts say that even when you don’t normally notice a plant’s presence, seeing a plant can make you feel calm and relaxed.

But what I dislike most about growing plants – or rather what I find scary – is transplanting seedlings. To me, they are like newborn babies that you’d be afraid to carry for fear of breaking their soft bones or dropping them on the floor. Ooh! If you feel the same way about these baby plants, you’re going to love this idea which offers a better way of transplanting – making your seedling pots with newspapers!

Biodegradable Newspaper Seedling Pot Samples
Biodegradable Newspaper Seedling Pots

So what’s the deal? Well, let me start by telling you a little something about newspapers. We know that a key ingredient to growing healthy plants is by composting. Compost can include animal manure, sawdust, straw, food scraps, and many more. A newspaper is also good material.

60 Packs 3 Inch Peat Pots Plant Starters for Seedling

What’s great about newspapers is that many of their printers now use soy ink. Yes, ink is made from soybeans. Because of the rising prices of petroleum, the Newspaper Association of America during the 1970s decided to look for other materials to make ink.  They discovered soybean oil to be a great alternative for some reason. They are more cost-efficient and printer-friendly than petroleum-based ink. They produce brighter and more accurate colors as well.

Biodegradable Newspaper Seedling Pot Samples

This is a better material not only for the companies but also for the environment. Soy ink has low levels of volatile organic compounds which means that air pollution is reduced because of its minimal toxic emissions. Papers with soy ink are also easier to recycle, particularly during the de-inking process because they are easier to remove compared to regular ink.

Though soy ink does not mean that it is edible nor 100% biodegradable (because they are still mixed with other ingredients required for producing ink), it is way better – safer – than petroleum-based. This is why newspapers today make even better materials for planting.

General logo for vegetable oil ink and Soy Seal
The general logo for vegetable oil ink and Soy Seal (Image Source: Wikipedia)

Making seedling pots out of them is a great idea! Aside from being a compost ingredient, it makes transplanting easier since you don’t have to dig up your plants anymore. No more fear of damaging their roots! Read on to know-how. :)

Crafting Biodegradable Newspaper Seedling Pots

Materials and Tools

  • Newspaper (printed with soy ink)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Cutter/Scissors
  • Stapler

Click on any image to start the lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox.8-)


1. Cut four 6-inch squares of newspaper.

How to make paper seedling pots

2. Fold the paper into thirds, both vertically and horizontally…

How to make paper seedling pots

so that you have a grid of nine squares.

How to make paper seedling pots

3. Flip the newspaper and fold all the corners.

How to make paper seedling pots

This will make it easier for you to do the next step.

How to make paper seedling pots`

4. Fold the corners as shown in the picture.

How to make paper seedling pots

And staple them to one side of the box. Do the same to the opposite side.

How to make paper seedling pots

Press on the folds to make the box more definite in shape.

How to make paper seedling pots

5. And you’re ready to put in some soil and your seeds or seedling!

Remember to place your biodegradable newspaper seedling pots in a safe place where the seedlings can receive ample sunlight and air.

How to make paper seedling pots

NOTE: This is not exactly an arts and crafts project, so don’t worry if the boxes are not perfect. As long as they can hold the soil for 3-4 weeks, then that should be fine.

Once the seedlings are ready for planting, simply place the entire newspaper seedling pots into the ground. This way, you get to transfer the seedling without disturbing its roots. Eventually, the newspaper will disintegrate without causing any harm to your plant. :)

Benefits of Using Biodegradable Newspaper Seedling Pots

Starting your garden in environmentally responsible and useful way is possible with biodegradable newspaper seedling pots. Along with being environmentally friendly, these containers promote better plant development.

Let us examine the several advantages of employing biodegradable newspaper seedling containers in your gardening activities.

Environmentally Friendly

A more environmentally friendly option to plastic pots, which frequently wind up in landfills and worsen environmental contamination, are biodegradable newspaper seedling pots. Being composed of recycled newspapers, they cut waste and encourage material reuse. As newspapers break down, the environment is least affected and soil health is improved.

Cost-Effective Solution

It can get costly to garden, particularly when buying different materials. Because they use easily obtained materials, biodegradable newspaper seedling containers are an affordable option. This do-it-yourself method not only saves money but also lessens the need to purchase prefabricated seedling trays or pots.Newspaper recycling allows you to reduce expenses and put the money you save into other garden areas. 

Ease of Transplantation

Often resulting in root damage or transplant shock, transplanting seedlings can be a delicate procedure. This procedure is streamlined with biodegradable newspaper seedling pots. The seedling can be left in the pot and planted straight into the ground. In your garden, this reduces root disturbance and supports plant health, encouraging stronger growth and higher survival rates.

Improved Soil and Plant Health

The soil is enriched and strengthened in structure as biodegradable newspaper seedling pots break down and release organic content. This organic stuff feeds the plants vital nutrients, encourages helpful bacteria, and improves soil fertility. Because of the newspaper’s slow decomposition, nutrients are released gradually as well, which promotes a healthy growing environment for your plants.

Customizable and Versatile

Customizing biodegradable newspaper seedling pots to fit different sizes and shapes of seedlings is simple. Growing vegetables, herbs, or flowers, you can modify the pot size to suit the particular requirements of your plants.

To track various plant types or to personalize your garden arrangement, you can also mark and embellish the pots.

Natural Pest Deterrence

Biodegradable newspaper seedling pots can act as a natural barrier against pests. The paper can be treated with organic substances, such as neem oil or cinnamon, which are known to repel insects and deter fungal growth. This provides an added layer of protection for your seedlings, reducing the need for chemical pesticides.

Promotes Better Water Management

Newspaper pots have excellent water retention properties, allowing them to maintain consistent moisture levels for your seedlings. Unlike plastic pots, which can dry out quickly or cause waterlogging, biodegradable newspaper seedling pots absorb and release water gradually. This helps prevent overwatering or underwatering, ensuring your plants receive the optimal amount of moisture.

Encourages Root Aeration

The porous nature of biodegradable newspaper seedling pots facilitates better air circulation to the roots. This improved aeration encourages strong root development and prevents common issues like root rot. Healthy roots are essential for the overall vigor of plants, leading to more robust and productive growth once transplanted.

Reduces Transplant Shock

One of the key benefits of biodegradable newspaper seedling pots is their ability to minimize transplant shock. Since the pots can be planted directly into the soil, the roots remain undisturbed during the transplantation process. This seamless transition helps seedlings adapt more quickly to their new environment, leading to higher success rates and faster growth.

Supports Local Recycling Efforts

Using biodegradable newspaper seedling pots also contributes to local recycling initiatives. By repurposing old newspapers, you actively participate in reducing the volume of waste sent to recycling centers and landfills. This practice not only supports community recycling efforts but also educates and encourages others to adopt sustainable gardening habits.

Enhances Garden Aesthetics

Biodegradable newspaper seedling pots can add a rustic and charming look to your garden setup. The natural, weathered appearance of the newspaper blends well with various garden styles and provides a unique visual appeal. This aesthetic quality can enhance the overall look of your garden, making it more inviting and pleasant.

All things considered, utilizing biodegradable newspaper seedling pots has many benefits for the environment and gardeners. They simplify transplanting and promote healthy plant growth at a reasonable price. Gardening can be much improved by adopting this sustainable technique.

Alternatives to Stapling: Eco-Friendly Assembly Techniques

Stapling is a common method for assembling biodegradable newspaper seedling pots, but it isn’t always the most environmentally friendly option. Staples can linger in the soil after the newspaper decomposes and can pose challenges during recycling. Fortunately, there are several eco-friendly alternatives that ensure your biodegradable newspaper seedling pots remain fully sustainable. 

Here’s how you can assemble your pots without relying on staples.

Biodegradable Glue

Using biodegradable glue is a straightforward and effective way to assemble your newspaper pots. These glues are made from natural ingredients that break down without leaving harmful residues. Simply apply a small amount of biodegradable glue to the edges of your newspaper and press them together until they stick. This method ensures your pots hold their shape and remain entirely compostable.

Natural Twine or Jute

Natural twine or jute offers a rustic and eco-friendly alternative to stapling. These materials are biodegradable and can be easily integrated into your pots.

To use twine or jute, roll the newspaper into a pot shape and tie it securely around the middle or top edge. This technique not only holds the pot together but also adds an appealing, handcrafted touch to your biodegradable newspaper seedling pots.

Folding and Tucking

For those who prefer a minimalist approach, folding and tucking the newspaper is an excellent method. By using precise folds, you can create a sturdy structure without the need for any additional materials. Start by folding the newspaper into a box or cylinder, then tuck the edges securely into place. This method relies on the strength of the folds to keep the pot intact and is ideal for those looking to keep their assembly process completely paper-based.

Paper Clips

Although not biodegradable, paper clips can be a temporary and reusable solution. They are easy to remove and can be recycled after use.

When assembling your pots, clip the edges of the folded newspaper together with a few paper clips. This method is particularly useful for gardeners who plan to reuse the clips for future projects or prefer to avoid adhesives altogether.

Sewing with Natural Fiber Thread

Sewing the edges of your pots with natural fiber thread, such as cotton or hemp, is another sustainable option. This method involves stitching the seams of the newspaper to hold the pot’s shape. Use a simple running stitch along the edges, and tie off the ends securely. Natural fiber threads decompose alongside the newspaper, ensuring your biodegradable newspaper seedling pots remain eco-friendly.

Wet Newspaper Molding

Wet newspaper molding is a technique that uses water to shape and secure the pot. Dampen the newspaper and mold it around a form or container to create the desired pot shape. As the paper dries, it will hold its form without the need for staples or glue. This method is ideal for those who want to avoid any non-organic materials and keep the pot assembly process entirely natural.

Choosing eco-friendly assembly techniques for your biodegradable newspaper seedling pots not only enhances their sustainability but also provides creative and versatile ways to construct them. Whether you opt for biodegradable glue, natural twine, folding, or sewing, these methods ensure your pots remain true to their environmentally conscious purpose. Embrace these alternatives to create fully sustainable and functional pots for your garden.


One economical and ecological method to tend to your garden is to make biodegradable newspaper seedling containers. Among the many advantages these pots provide are reduced environmental effect, better plant health, and ease of transplantation. Taking up this environmentally friendly habit enables you to produce colorful plants.

If you liked this project, you might also like to view Plastic bottle planters and Growing a hydroponic garden…



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