2. May, 2021

Comparison of composting rate for different types of paper

Home composting is the most convenient and environmentally friendly way to  deal with organic waste which includes paper and cardboard a good source of carbon (Browns).

 However, not all paper products are the same and some will be slower to compost as they have  higher  levels of lignin remaining in the product after the manufacturing process. Office/computer paper will only have  about five percent lignin, cardboard 10 % but  newspaper will have  about 30 %.  As a consequence,  some suggest that newspaper  is best recycled rather than composted as it takes longer to breakdown.  While this may be true of rapid commercial composting system, I have not found it a problem when home composting.  

As part of our Compost Week  celebrations,  we are  hoping to generate interest in composting paper products by comparing the cold composting rate of office paper, newspaper and cardboard in our tabletop composters and will be publishing regular photos during decomposition.

The bins in the photo show day1 of the experiment. To reduce the number of variables we are using comfrey as the only green with about an equal amount of shredded paper in each bin. The bins contain computer/office paper on the left, cardboard in the centre and newspaper on the right. More photos will follow.

We ask home and community composters to compare the use of office and newspaper in their composting bins.