Newsprint refers to the specific type of paper used to publish newspapers. It is thin enough to be economically produced, but thick enough to be printed on both sides. It is a relatively cheap grade of paper, but one whose production is reasonably environmentally sound.
Mills throughout the world produce newsprint, using very much the same process everywhere. Before recycling was widely practiced, newspaper was made mostly of wood pulp. Innovative minds created ways for paper mills to make it using recycled newspapers and even residual chips, dust, and pieces from local sawmills, however. Many mills also recycle their water, which makes them less of a burden on the environment. The pressroom usually has several dozen feet of paper left over after a press run, and selling it to people who buy "endrolls" of it from the local newspaper office is another way to reduce waste.
A roll of newsprint is about 3.3 feet (1 meter) tall and weighs anywhere between 800 and 900 pounds (300-400 kg). A roll averages about 35,800 linear feet (10,912 meters) of paper, and it is priced by the ton. The paper, wound around sturdy cardboard cylinders, is carried into the pressroom with a front-end loader. A metal rod is pushed through the hole in the middle of the cylinder, with both ends sticking out. A winch lifts the huge rolls into position on the press, and the ends are threaded through the rollers.
Often considered a famous liner for birdcages, newsprint has a variety of uses other than for printing the news. It is good for picnic table covers, a variety of crafts, kids' drawing or painting paper, packing material, wrapping paper, and a host of other uses.
Because it is of a lower quality than most book paper, this material has some disadvantages. It is fragile and discolors easily. The paper does not preserve well, and so is not suitable for long-term archives. It is also easily torn, and when wet, tends to dissolve back into pulp.
Depending on the press a newspaper has, it may also suffer from "web breaks" — two words that strike fear into the hearts of every newspaper company. The paper is often suspended between rollers, and the suspended portion is the web. If the web breaks, the press must be stopped, the torn edges found, trimmed, and pasted back together, and then the press must be restarted. In other words, the break eats up precious press time and delays the carriers from getting their papers delivered on time.