Mulch – Use Shredded Paper

Q: My office produces a lot of shredded paper. I have been thinking about collecting it and composting it. Will this work?

A: You can compost anything that is organic in nature: shredded paper, shrimp shells, peanut hulls, etc. All that matters to the bacteria and fungi who perform the composting operation is that they get the moisture and oxygen they need.

The problem you’ll face in composting the shredded paper is keeping it from matting together and excluding oxygen from the creatures who need it. If you had unlimited time and muscle power, you could flip the pile every day or two until the microbes did their work. Guessing that this is not what you have in mind, I’d say that the best 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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