Can You Compost Shredded Paper?

When it comes to composting, one of the biggest questions that you may have is, can you compost shredded paper?

While it is an option for some, it doesn't have the same benefits that other materials do. Here are the problems with using shredded paper in a compost pile and what alternatives are available. 

Shredded Paper

Adding shredded paper to a compost pile

Adding shredded paper to a compost heap will help your garden's decomposing organic matter break down quicker and more efficiently. This natural material also increases moisture absorption.

Its properties help to wick moisture away from the decomposing organic matter, reducing odors and other issues. Composted shredded paper also promotes moisture retention at the root level. In addition, it can bulk up the soil and increase the volume of finished compost.

If you're not sure shredded paper is right for your compost heap, check the label to see if it's organic. Plastic or foil-coated paper is not an ideal candidate for a compost heap.

These materials may contain toxic chemicals and microplastics that can cause a hazard to your pile. Instead, separate the material into shredded pieces and add them to the compost pile.

Can You Compost Shredded Paper?

Problems with shredded paper in a compost pile

Many people wonder whether it's possible to compost shredded paper. While the answer is yes, shredded paper needs to be disposed of properly.

It is important to remember that composting requires oxygen and moisture, and matting can restrict the amount of oxygen available to the creatures that will compost the material.

The most practical way to compost shredded paper is to add it to the brown layer of the compost pile, which includes leaf litter, sawdust, straw, and other greens.

Fortunately, shredded paper has many benefits. Unlike regular newspaper and magazines, shredded paper has a natural ability to increase moisture absorption and water retention.

Additionally, its natural properties help wick moisture away from decomposing organic material, thereby reducing odor and leakage problems. In addition, composted shredded paper has properties that benefit plants.

Shredded paper has the ability to bulk up soil, and this can improve the finished compost.

Can You Compost Shredded Paper?

Issues with shredded paper in a vermicomposting pile

Shredded paper is an excellent source of carbon and can enhance the composition of your compost and provide shelter for your worms. However, finding the right kinds of paper for your vermicomposting pile can be tricky.

Many articles are inconsistent and contradictory, citing varying levels of safety for different types of paper. Beware of papers with printing ink or heavy metals.

Paper is generally compostable and recyclable, although some kinds of paper cannot be composted.

Shredded paper is best made from ordinary butcher paper, and should not contain wax or plastic. If it is metallic, it should not be composted. Instead, use bedding and shredded garden debris for your pile.

Don't forget to remove any wrapping paper before you start your vermicomposting project.

Shredded paper is an excellent source of carbon, which is essential for composting. Healthy compost has a 25:1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen. Paper provides a great deal of carbon, but it can also balance out the nitrogen. 

To ensure a balanced compost, use shredded paper at least once. It's important to rotate the pile frequently, and don't forget to turn the pile on a weekly basis.

Can You Compost Shredded Paper?

Alternatives to shredded paper in a vermicomposting pile

In a vermicomposting pile, shredded paper is a great way to improve your compost and provide worms with a home. However, finding the right kind of paper is a bit more complicated.

There are conflicting articles out there, so it can be difficult to know which type is the best. Be sure to avoid bleached or processed paper, as it can contain harmful chemicals or even heavy metals.

While most types of paper are compostable or recyclable, some materials are not. For example, greasy pizza boxes can either be composted or thrown in the trash. But it's better to compost them instead.

The easiest way to use shredded paper in your vermicomposting pile is to tear up the cardboard and remove the plastic parts, which help composting microbes break down the cardboard.

Can You Compost Shredded Paper?


Regardless of whether you choose to compost or vermicomposting your shredded paper, there are a few things that you should know before you do so.

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