Can You Compost Paper? A Comprehensive Guide

Can You Compost Paper: A Comprehensive Guide to Composting Paper Waste


Are you contemplating whether or not you can compost paper? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of composting paper waste. So let’s dive in and find out if you can turn that stack of old papers into nutrient-rich soil for your garden!

The Basics of Composting

Before delving into composting paper specifically, let’s first cover the basics of composting. Composting is a natural process that decomposes organic materials, such as food scraps and yard waste, into nutrient-rich humus. This resulting humus can then be used as an excellent soil amendment in gardening.

What Types of Paper Can Be Composted?

When it comes to composting paper, not all types are created equal. Some papers break down easily while others may contain additives or coatings that hinder decomposition. Here are some types of paper that can generally be safely added to your compost pile:

  • Newspapers and newsprint
  • Shredded office or printer paper
  • Brown bags (with no colored dyes)
  • Paper towels and napkins (without chemical contaminants)
  • Toilet tissue rolls (cardboard portion only)


It is important to avoid glossy magazines, heavily inked papers with colorful dyes, laminated sheets, wax-coated cardboard boxes (like those used for takeout), or any paper products treated with chemicals.

Preparing Paper for Composting

    Tear it apart:

  1. Tear the paper into smaller pieces or shred it, which speeds up the decomposition process.


Large or thick pieces of paper may take longer to break down. By shredding or tearing them apart, you create more surface area for microorganisms to do their work.

    Mix it in:

  1. Integrate your shredded or torn paper into your compost bin along with other organic materials like kitchen scraps and yard waste.
    Add moisture:

  1. Monitor the moisture levels in your compost pile and ensure it remains damp. If necessary, sprinkle water over the pile including the added paper to maintain a moist but not overly wet environment.

The Benefits of Composting Paper Waste

  • Reduces landfill waste: Composting paper diverts waste from overflowing landfills.
  • Nutrient-rich soil amendment: The resulting humus is an excellent natural fertilizer that enriches soil health.
  • Eco-friendly alternative: Choosing composting as a method of disposing of paper waste helps minimize carbon emissions compared to traditional disposal methods like burning or incineration.

In Conclusion

Composting paper can be a fantastic way to reduce waste and contribute positively to our environment. Remember to choose appropriate types of papers free from harmful additives, tear them apart for faster decomposition, mix them well into your compost pile along with other organic materials, and monitor proper moisture levels. By doing so, you can effortlessly transform old papers into nutrient-rich soil that will nourish your plants while minimizing landfill waste. So go ahead – put those old papers to good use and embark on your composting journey today!