best use for shredded paper/cardboard?

louisianagal(z7bMS)January 15, 2011

I have a 3/4 acre lot (house takes up part of it), I compost alot, have 4 piles, and many gardens. I shred just about all paper and cardboard boxes/packaging. So I have a few bags of shredded stuff here. As you know it does not break down quickly. I've used it as part of lasagna garden building, or just to smother lawn in making a new garden. I also have alot of leaves bagged right now. These are both high carbon, right? What is the best use for this shredded paper? Should I mix in compost piles? Should I mulch with it (covered with something more natural?). Maybe the best is to wait for grass clippings and mix with that? What about in fall/winter -- best use? Thanx!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I found that mixing shredded paper with leaves prevents leaves from matting down, and also greatly increases numbers of red worms in the pile. The result decomposes much faster than leaf mold. I aim for ~20% paper and mix it in as thoroughly as I can, aiming to see some paper in every handful of stuff I can pull from the pile.
Of course, the resulting mix is very 'brown' and would decompose faster with some 'greens' mixed in. A handful or two of urea mixed in occasionally as you make the pile will get it to heat up very nicely and speed decomposition. Urea does not seem to affect worm populations adversely.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 11:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Toss them in a vermicompost bin! :D My worms LOVE cardboard!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 9:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Leaves have a C:N ratio ranging between 40:1 to 80:1, depending on age, while paper can have a C:N ratio of around 170:1. Newly fallen leaves will have a ratio close to the optimal 30:1 for composting although as they age they will need additional Nitrogen in the mix to be digested, even though piles of leaves will, eventually, be turned into leaf mold.
Wet paper tends to stick together, make paper mache, which can limit the amount of air available to the digesters so something that would prevent paper from matting is necessary. I've not experienced shredded leaves matting anything like unshredded leaves or paper will.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 6:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been shredding ALL our household waste paper (bills, junk mail, newspaper, phone books, magazines, packaging, boxes, sacks, napkins, TP rolls, etc, etc, etc......) with a contraption I built as an "attachment" to my mulching lawn mower. As I am shredding, I have a chute blowing it into one of my compost bins. This fills up and I wet it down so it won't blow around. Then as I need carbon materials (I don't have any trees around to get leaves) I simply fork in the shredded paper material and mix it with the lawn clippings and other greens. It breaks down just as quickly as the other organic materials and creates a rich compost that has helped produce my last 3 years of amazing raised bed harvest of delicious veggies and beautiful flowers. No waste going to the landfill and I don't have to buy commercial fertilizer nor soil addatives.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 1:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The best option is to recycle these items if it is available to you and it is material that is recyclable. If recycling isn't available I've found it's great in a compost pile or worm bin or simply worked into the soil to hold more water. Large peices of paper or cardboard make great weed barriers if laid on the ground and covered with mulch. Pizza boxes work well for this.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 12:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I run virtually all of my paper type wastes (only the glossy paper inserts and envelopes with plastic windows go to the recycle people) through my worm bins. The resulting product is great for my garden

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 5:24PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Coco peat powder for the gooey compost pile?
Hello Friends, I am from tropical Assam in India; I...
Black Rich Organic Soil? Oklahoma?. I just wanted to stop by and thank...
Alkaline compost
I thought I would pick this group's brains regarding...
Need alternative nitrogen source
Ok, here goes. Don't laugh if I sound stupid. Or...
ernie85017, zn 9, phx
Miracle-Gro Garden Soil
I was at Home Depot this morning getting a few things...
Sponsored Products
Persian Heriz Hand Knotted Wool 3' X 14' Red With Blue Border Oriental Rug H5082
BH Sun Inc
Area Rug: Summer Garden Aged Blue 5' x 8'
Home Depot
IBISS Single Solid Flood Light by Tech Lighting
$284.00 | Lumens
"The Quietest Moments" Abstract Giclee
$1,050.00 | Horchow
Korver Leather Ottoman - Brighton Soul White White
Joybird Furniture
Coquette Modern Frameless Bathroom Mirror - 23.6W x 31.5H in. - SSM183
$103.20 | Hayneedle
Gypsy Coaster Set
$22.99 | Dot & Bo
Hudson Valley Belmont 13"W Polished Nickel Ceiling Light
Lamps Plus
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™