Can you compost cardboard? Cardboard is compostable; if you already have a compost bin, just include it in your brown waste. Composting cardboard is a terrific place to start for individuals new to composting, and combining it with other organic materials creates a foundation for beneficial compost.
Composting your cardboard at home helps you use your waste cardboard products while removing the need for taking it to recycle. By learning how to compost cardboard, you can quickly add extra carbon to your compost pile to balance it. Or, bulk it up to produce additional finished compost per pound of biodegradable materials.
Shredded cardboard is simple to mix in as dry matter, regardless of whether you have a tumbler or a compost bin. Cardboard waste is produced every day. By composting scrap cardboard, you take charge of your waste disposal and improve the quality of the compost you make for your garden and potted plants.
Composting Cardboard in Your Home Composter
Whether you’re new to composting or a veteran composter looking for new ways to lessen your footprint, adding cardboard to compost is an excellent idea. Can you compost cardboard? Cardboard contains a large volume of carbon, making it perfect for inclusion as part of your brown composting materials.
The cardboard structure soaks up water, helping to reduce unwanted odor from your compost bin and keep everything moving along so you enjoy a large output of finished compost. Explore how to compost cardboard and what items are safe to use.
What is Composting?
While discussing composting, we often think of food scraps, but much more is needed to create balanced fertilizer. Green and brown materials are the two components that make up all compost.
Along with yard waste, dried grass, and dried leaves, cardboard and shredded paper is compostable when added to brown matter. High-nitrogen materials such as kitchen leftovers and recently cut grass are included in the green group.
Brown items, like paper, are dry and rich in carbon. Food waste and other green substances are regarded as wet and have a greater nitrogen concentration. The best ratio for brown and green compost is a 3:1 ratio, keeping them damp and aerated to encourage breakdown.
The organic material in the composting mixture undergoes a gradual microbial transformation into compost.
Can You Compost Cardboard?
If you compost right, your pile efficiently breaks down cardboard. However, some types of cardboard are better suited for curbside cardboard recycling, such as putting egg cartons in your home compost and other post consumer paper products.
Shiny cardboard or waxed cardboard isn’t suitable for composting as the chemicals used in the finish may interfere with the composting process. Cardboard food containers compost well, although items heavily stained with grease might be slow to degrade and are best suited for another disposal option.
Is Cardboard Good for Compost?
Cardboard is invaluable for managing the composting process and keeping your pile or bin functioning optimally. Since they’re dense in carbon, cardboard and other paper products are classified as brown material. If a composter becomes unbalanced and nitrogen-heavy, its contents become wet, smelly, and slow to break down.
Cardboard’s structure naturally means it soaks up some excess moisture and helps remove the odor caused by imbalance. Its high carbon levels help regulate and restore functional breakdown to produce high-quality finished compost with good structure. Providing brown material in these situations rebalances the system.
How to Compost Cardboard
As cardboard belongs to the brown materials or dry group, before you put cardboard in compost, ensure it is dry to the touch. To speed up the disintegration of cardboard or another paper product during composting, break it down into smaller pieces before putting it on your pile.
Shredding cardboard is wise to ensure you have smaller pieces to mix into your composter. If you’re starting a composting system from scratch, mix your cardboard with brown material and combine it in a 3:1 ratio with the green materials.
When adding paper to an existing compost pile, dig a few layers down, distribute the scraps evenly, and cover again. If you plan to collect your shredded cardboard in a bag, choose a compostable bag or a paper bag.
Can You Put Cereal Boxes in Compost?
Can cereal boxes be composted? A cereal box is biodegradable; it decomposes on the compost pile. Since they’re in the same group as paper and are rich in valuable carbon, old cereal boxes are excellent compostable materials.
Don’t hesitate to chop your cereal boxes into small pieces or include them when you shred cardboard and toss them in your home composter. If you have a box of cereal you dislike or one that went stale, it’s okay to add the package and cereal to your compost bin.
However, remove the plastic bag from the inside first. Plastic is inorganic, won’t decompose, and may upset the entire compost pile if included.
Methods of Composting Cardboard
If you don’t have an existing home composter, establishing one is the first stage of composting your cardboard at home. There are different ways to compost depending on your available space, how much organic waste you expect to generate, and your preferences.
Determine whether you prefer an open-air or enclosed composter. If you dislike the idea of a mound of compost in your garden, a contained system like a bin or tumbler might be appropriate. Compost bins exist in a variety of sizes.
Compost heaps or piles are generally larger, kept outside buildings, and require significant outdoor space. A compost tumbler is often used for a medium-sized composter on a patio or balcony. A worm bin is perfect for tiny areas and works well indoors.
Benefits of Cardboard Compost
Just as it reduces food waste, composting helps keep cardboard out of landfills and is greener than the curbside recycling bin. While many think cardboard is a regularly recycled material, it, unfortunately, makes up almost 30 percent of landfills. Composting cardboard turns it into useable compost to enrich your garden or potting soil.
Carbon is abundant in cardboard and is an essential component of any composter. Due to its inherent characteristics, cardboard absorbs water from decomposing organic material in your compost, hastening the decomposition process.
Finished compost is a nutrient-rich organic fertilizer ideal for feeding plants. When mixed into the soil, cardboard compost helps your plant’s roots retain moisture. Paper adds bulk to the mixture, which results in a greater volume of finished compost.
Composting cardboard keeps waste out of landfills, bulks up your compost, and makes you more self-sufficient. Understanding the different types of cardboard and learning to identify those suitable for the compost pile ensures success when you start adding cardboard to compost.
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