A composting bin

Can I put paper in my compost bin?


It's complicated, whether you can put paper into your composting bin, so read on!

Key info
Brown material📂
2-5 months

Get the right balance of brown and green composting materials in your bin with our expert guide.

Here is a detailed article on composting various types of paper:

How to Properly Compost Different Types of Paper

We explain how to compost common household paper items, providing guidance on preparation methods and safety considerations for adding paper products to your compost.

Can You Compost Plain White Paper?

Yes, uncoated printer and notebook paper contains carbon and fibers that break down well in backyard compost piles. To speed up decomposition, tear sheets into 1 inch strips or shred them. Avoid glossy printed paper which may contain heavy metals.

Is Newspaper Compostable?

Newspapers provide essential browns and carbon to balance a compost's greens and nitrogen. However, the lignin in paper resists breakdown. Tearing sheets into strips and shredding speeds decomposition. Limit chemical exposure by using unprinted newsprint sections like classifieds.

Can You Add Cardboard Boxes to Compost?

Clean corrugated cardboard offers abundant carbon for decomposition. Remove any plastic tape, labels, or laminated coatings first. Shred cardboard or cut into smaller pieces to increase surface area. Avoid using heavily dyed or printed cardboard from packaged goods.

What About Food-Soiled Paper Products?

Used paper towels, plates, napkins, and takeout containers can be composted if not overly printed with dyes or chemicals. Stick to unbleached natural papers. Avoid any cleaners, lotions, or glossy prints which may introduce toxins.

Can Tissue Paper Go Into Compost?

Plain white facial and toilet tissue papers provide good compost material. Avoid scented, decorative, or plastic-embedded tissue types which may contain non-compostable additions. Always check labeling before adding specialty tissue products.

Items to Avoid Putting in Compost

Do not add heavily dyed, metallic printed, or plastic-coated papers. Also avoid any paper soiled with chemicals, cleaners, pesticides or other possible toxins. Play it safe by only adding known plain paper products into backyard compost piles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most compostable type of paper? Unbleached natural kraft paper, newsprint, cardboard, and napkins offer the safest options.

Does ink on paper affect composting? Standard inks are non-toxic but limit intake. Shred or tear paper to reduce exposure.

Can shiny magazines be composted? Glossy paper often has plastic bonded to it and may contain heavy metals from dyes. Do not compost.

Is wax paper compostable? No. Wax paper has petroleum-based coatings that won't break down through composting.

Following these paper composting guidelines will help create a healthy balanced mix for your backyard pile. Limit any exposure to dyes, chemicals or plastics when adding paper waste.

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