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Putting paper in the compost

Now that I'm not working I'm hoping to find time to make compost more effectively (as well as doing a lot of other garden-y things!) as previously I've just ended up with mostly grass clippings which have just formed a slimy mess. I've been saving cardboard etc. to provide extra browns for the compost heap once the mowing season starts but can I also put in other kinds of paper - such as junk mail. If so, should I shred it first?



  • A lot of junk mail is made from shiny paper and that does not compost down very well. I have never shredded paper before - try it and see if it decomposes.

  • Alan4711Alan4711 LincolnshirePosts: 1,657
    join the club Singing G weve just moved house HA, HA, and weve got about 100 box,s to shred,iv also considered putting some of the builders were using through the shredder when iv decided which is the best one to buy, perhaps i,ll start with a no show plumber, but i too need to know how much c/board to mix into the compost ,ill probably be doing it for years to come with all these box,s iv got. good luck
  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 1,213

    I haven't got that much cardboard! Just some boxes from Christmas and a fair amount of the brown paper which a lot of places seem to use as packing these days. I'll try putting a bit of shredded paper into the compost and see what happens...

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 81,319

    Brown paper and torn up cardboard goes on our compost heap - it's very good to layer with all the green vegetable stuff. image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • I put all my shredded paper on the compost heap, it disappears quite quickly. I save it up until I've got a large carrier bag full and spread it in a layer over the top of the heap. Just don't do it on a windy day!image

  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 1,213

    You'd think not doing it on a windy day would be obvious - but I discovered this the hard way. It takes quite a while to chase scattered shredded paper around the garden, and it wasn't even all that windy!image

  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,488

    Shredded paper can be used in small quantities in compost, but cardboard is better. I do add shredded paper and greens into a trench pit and backfill.

  • BiljeBilje Posts: 721

    I have a cross cut paper shredder which I use to shred bank statements etc. when I have a carrier bag full it goes in the compost bin and disappears very quickly. I don't save loo roll centres for seeds they just get roughly torn and chucked in, same with egg cartons. I've never had any problems, I think variety is the spice for compost bins. I've just emptied my old one today, any lumps/bits etc get bunged back in until next time. What I have learnt is to shred or chop died back stems which are brown, some take an age to rot if left....Jean


  • Cardboard is also the most valuable item when sent for recycling, so I prefer to do that, unless it's very dirty. Boxes etc get re-used for various purposes until they are falling to bits. Good stuff!

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Make sure you remove the windows from envelopes or they drive you mad when you use the compost as you have to remove the strips as they don't rot.

    Buy yourself a robust paper shredder.  The cheap ones from supermarkets last very little time if you use them a lot.  I don't shred shiny paper - that goes for recycling.  Sheets or large pieces of cardboard - without the sticky tape - can go straight in the heap, no need to shred it.

    Also don't put avocado stones or peach stones in the compost heap; they never rot down.

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