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Composting Paper

Paper ShredderWhenever the authorities come knocking on my door, I quickly grab my secret documents and start shredding them. Oh wait, that's not me, I think that was in a movie that I saw recently. That's right, I'm just the guy that shreds paper for the compost bin.

When my compost pile is low on browns, which it usually is during the summer months, I grab some newspapers or junk mail and shred away.

Did you know that most newspapers use an ink made from soy? It's totally safe for the compost bin so why not shred up Beetle Baily and see how quickly he decomposes. Compost microbes love the funnies. In fact on a quiet night, I sometimes sneak up on my compost bin and I can hear laughter. Oh wait, that might have been something I saw in the movie too.


  1. Anonymous said...
    Talk about the ultimate in identity theft protection! It's a great way to get rid of shredded bills, although I wonder about what chemicals are in toner and ink.
    Anthony said...
    Hi Anony,
    Good question. I know that inkjet printers mostly use the soy or vegetable based ink that newspapers use but I don't know about laser jet toner. There's no ink in toner but what is in there?

    I'll do some research and follow up. Thanks for the good question.
    steven said...
    I ran out of brown stuff a couple of seasons ago and shredded all my newspapers for weeks. Worked like a charm.
    Composter said...
    I didn't know you could compost paper, that's great news!
    Jen / domestika said...
    Shredded paper gets my green stuff through the season(s) in good compost balance when autumn leaves and coarse straw aren't around - but if I were to be totally honest, it could be mostly just an excuse for indulging my love of playing with the shredder!
    Anthony said...
    Way to go Steven!

    Hi there, welcome. Next time you comment, be sure to include the http:// otherwise it'll be a broken link like you've got now.

    Ha-ha, yes that's true. The shredder is like a toy in my house. My kids are always shoving things in it.
    lisa said...
    Wormies in my bin like shredded paper, too. Plus it's fun to destroy things, er, shred paper...you know? Did you ever see that "Malcomb in the Middle" episode where they played with a big wood chipper, shredding teddy bears, basketballs, and stuff? Oh yea, almost as fun as that!
    Toni. said...
    Today, I have been researching shredding and composting. I wrote about it in my post today Paper Shredding and Green gardening practices. Which is better a cut shredder or a strip cut shredder?
    Anthony said...
    Hi Toni,
    For composting it doesn't really matter. Probably a cross cut shredder would make the smallest pieces and they would decompose quickest but composting takes weeks or even months. The difference between a strip of paper and confetti isn't going to make much of a difference.
    Anonymous said...
    the soy ink used in most printing is actually only about 15 percent soy. the rest is petroleum products. the misconception was pepetuated in the 60's by soy farmers. the printing industry is changing nowadays, but to reduce your risk, i wouldn't use it. at the very least, test your soil to make sure you have no heavy metals.
    Jeff said...
    Can poison oak be placed into a compost pile, or would the oils just spread to the compost?
    Anthony said...
    I'd definitely avoid the poison oak. Better safe than sorry.

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