Composting White Paper

Bethdc(5)August 24, 2014

Hi Everyone.
I've been composting about a year now... Even have a got a couple of batches of compost. :-) Now I'm running out of brown ingredients. In fact the only browns I really use seems to be leaves from last fall. I have some shredded paper from my office. I'm wondering about using this. It doesn't seem the healthiest with all the chemicals they must use to make paper, plus all of the toner ink... But it's something I have around. Any thoughts? Would you use it?
Thanks for your help.

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Shredded paper makes a great compost addition. There are not issues with any of the inks or toners, or with the paper itself, in my opinion. I find that the paper degrades quickly, and that it helps to aerate the pile. Shredded paper is an excellent addition to a vermicomposting system as well. There are several extensive discussions of this issue on gardenweb, and there are opinions that differ from mine in this regard.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 4:26PM
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yeah it works.....I made a batch and you cant even tell most of it was office paper.....I think I put in 3 garbage bags full of shredded paper. The end result was a black and crumbly compost.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 4:38PM
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Shredded office paper, shredded newspaper, shredded brown grocery bags - they all work fine. I've cut up old paperback books that were headed for the recycling and they worked fine too.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 5:47PM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

No arguments here, but I do try to recycle paper into more paper ('higher and better use' is the term in the recycling world). I look for other browns such as: free wood chips or shredded yard waste from local city yard waste dropoff/mulch site, utility tree trimming crews (some will have a waiting list and will bring it to you) or commercial tree trimmers; or sawdust or planer shavings from cabinet shops, sawmills or woodworkers (make sure there's no treated wood in there); spoiled straw or broken bales from farm supply (or around here, dropped on the side of the road!). But paper will work.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 11:32AM
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Thanks for your opinions. I guess I'll use it.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 11:39AM
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david52 Zone 6

A great way to save time is to add your lunch scraps, apple cores, coffee grounds and banana peels directly into the bin of the office paper shredder. Continual additions of shredded paper hide the other compostables, eliminate odor, and then, after a few days, you take the whole lot home.

/being helpful

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 8:32PM
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Hello, I have been composting kitchen scraps for years now. I use open plastic bins. It is only 3 months ago that I tried composting paper and they turned out to be large clumps of moist paper mache. I can't even stab it with my gardening fork. Eventually it decomposed but there was a certain odor, sort of like a new book. It took longer to decompose too. What did I do wrong? Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 12:32PM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

You probably added clumps of it that were too big. Spread out the paper in thinner layers between thin layers of other materials.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 1:18PM
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Toxcrusadr, you're right, I may have added layers that were too thick.

I will try again and update you. I have bags of shredded newspaper this time. Btw, instead of alternating layers, can I mix the shredded newspaper directly with the kitchen scraps to make a sort of homogenous mixture ? That way, more surface area will be in contact with the papers so it will decompose faster?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 8:38PM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

Yes, mixing is always better than layering for that exact reason. Nothing magic about layering, it's just how things often get deposited, at little here and a little there. If you stir each food scrap and paper layer together right after you add them, it will surely help with the paper clumping problem.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 11:05AM
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Thank you!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 11:36PM
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