The Ultimate Guide to Composting Paper

Composting is a cornerstone of sustainable living, allowing us to return valuable organic materials back to the earth, thereby closing the nutrient loop. Read our ultimate guide to composting paper, the do’s and don’ts and troubleshooting common problems.

The Vital Role of Composting in Sustainable Living 

Composting is a natural process of recycling decomposed organic materials, such as Sylvicta paper, into a rich soil known as compost. Anything that was once living will decompose. By composting your organic waste, you are returning nutrients back into the soil in order for the cycle of life to continue. 

What is Composting?  

Composting is the aerobic decomposition of biodegradable organic matter, producing compost. The process reduces landfill waste, cuts greenhouse gas emissions, and enriches the soil. Benefits of composting include soil conditioning, fertilisation, and introducing beneficial organisms to the soil. 

Composting Paper: The Do’s and Don’ts 

Not all paper is created equal when it comes to composting paper. Here are some simple rules: 

Do: Use shredded non-glossy paper, egg cartons, and toilet paper rolls. 

Don’t: Compost glossy magazines, coloured paper, or paper with heavy ink coverage.  

In terms of recycling plastic, there are certain plastic types that cannot be recycled. Read more about which plastics can and cannot be recycled here. 

Selecting the Right Paper for Your Compost 

Choose paper that’s high in carbon and free from inks, dyes, or laminates. Newspaper, plain cardboard, and natural paper products are ideal. Avoid using bleached paper, as it may contain dioxins. 

How Does Paper Transform in Your Compost Heap? 

Paper is a carbon-rich material that breaks down over time in a compost heap. Microorganisms and insects such as earthworms play a crucial role in decomposing the paper, turning it into compost. 

Troubleshooting Common Paper Composting Issues 

If your compost is too wet and smelly, add more brown materials like paper. 

A slow composting process might mean you need to increase the temperature by adding green materials or turning the heap. 

Composting Paper at Home 

Here are some tips to create the perfect compost heap at home: 

  • Shred your paper to increase surface area. 
  • Mix with green materials (nitrogen-rich) to balance the carbon: nitrogen ratio. 
  • Keep the pile moist but not wet. 
  • Turn regularly to aerate and speed up decomposition. 


How Paper Composting Contributes to Waste Reduction 

Composting paper reduces methane emissions from landfills, cuts down on the need for chemical fertilisers, and recycles paper in an environmentally friendly way. 

By integrating sustainable paper composting into our waste management practices, we can significantly reduce our environmental footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. 

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