Junk mail to mulch
If you have a shredder, your old junk mail and your daily newspaper can serve as mulch and soil conditioner. Put about 6 inches of shredded paper around plants and wet it. Then top with a thin layer of fine pine bark, pine needles, or soil. (Just enough that the paper doesn’t show through.) This year it will suppress weeds and keep moisture in the soil. Next year it will break down and enrich the soil. And no, you needn’t worry about the dyes in colored newsprint.