A Question

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

Jake from Dutchess County, NY emailed me with this question: “Do any of you Wise Gardeners use shredded paper in your compost pile? I keep reading that if I buy a simple $35 shredder I can turn my (mostly b&w) office and junk mail paper into good carbon compost. Sounds too good to be true.” Aside from an occasional tea bag tag, I don’t put paper in my compost pile, so I can’t answer from experience. If anyone reading this has used paper in their compost pile, please answer Jake in the Comments section.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

Lisa April 16, 2003, 9:00 am

We shred all of our household paper, including cereal boxes, junk mail, newspaper and compost it with great success.

Jim O'Keefe April 15, 2003, 9:25 am

I bought a truckload of “organic” compost once and it was half rejects from an envelope factory, and half output from a beechnut babyfood factory.

Judy Miller April 14, 2003, 1:00 pm

I’ts my understanding that only if the ink is something like soy-based ink should you use printed paper in compost for home use. Many inks contain things you do not want in your body or your garden. Personally I put teabags, excelsior, etc in the pile but not newspaper or office paper. Recyclers now take those and that is a safer way to re-use I think. Sorry.

erica April 14, 2003, 1:00 pm

i regularly shred paper for my compost piles. i especially like to use a handful of shredded paper in the bottom of the kitchen scrap canister — makes it much easier to dump into the compost pile since the coffee grounds don’t clump up (as badly) in the bottom of the can.

i don’t shred / use glossy paper because i don’t know whether i should, but b/w paper composts just fine when mixed with the other pile ingredients. a layer of shredded paper + a layer of other stuff to keep the bits from blowing away, turn periodically and i never see the paper again.