Composting Fruit and Vegetables – OK to Add Paper?

Q: I’ve been composting my fruit and vegetable trimmings and coffee grounds. Can shredded office paper be added to the pile?

A: Office paper is fine to compost as long as you can deal with the practical matter of its tendency to clump when wet. Thick wads of paper exclude oxygen from the composting fungi that need it. My advice is to make alternating layers of paper, kitchen scraps and dry leaves or small twigs. Another use of the paper is as a mulch under your shrubs and trees. Spread it out, wet it down and cover it with a bit of pine straw. The resulting paper mache’ will prevent weeds better than most other mulches and will let water and fertilizer through just fine.

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