Using Shredded Paper In the Garden: Is It OK?

Using Shredded Paper In the Garden: Is It OK?

Trent Johnson
Jan 20, 2010

In my copy room at work we have a paper shredder aptly named "Big Bertha" which eats paper for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Big Bertha generates loads of paper shreds which are taken in for recycling. I can't stop wondering if I could take all these paper scraps and throw them either in my garden box or composting bin at home.

Paper can be composted, according to various sources on the web. My biggest concern would be the leaching of ink into the vegetables grown with the paper created compost.

  • Catherine Mezensky of Suite101 says most black and white newspapers are fine to compost and "papers printed from home computers are safe to use as well."
  • A few commenters on Skippy's Vegetable Garden said that they've had success using shredded paper as compost or for hilling potatoes.
  • The consensus on Garden Web seems to be that most papers, that are not shinny or glossy, are probably ok in the compost bin.

So what's your take? Any experience using shredded paper in the garden or have a reliable source on the types of recycled paper that would be OK using in the garden?

(Images: All photos used with permission by Skippy's Vegetable Garden)

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