Each year, billions of tons of waste get put into landfills in the U.S. While some materials that go to these landfills can't be recycled, one major item that makes up a large percentage of landfill waste is paper.
Besides being recycled to become pulp and eventually paper again, paper can also be added to compost. Paper shredder compost offers an easy solution for reducing waste, easily recycling large amounts of paper, and even boosting the health of the soil that it's added to.
If you're looking to add paper to your compost, keep reading to learn what you need to know and how to get started with paper shredder compost.
Benefits of Shredded Paper for Compost
Composting is a great way to fertilize gardens and landscaping, reduce trash, and more.
Compost helps to restore healthy additives in the soil. It helps the soil to retain moisture, which is important for helping plants grow. It can even help suppress plant diseases and prevent pests from thriving in the soil and attacking plants.
Using compost helps to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.
Chemical fertilizers are terrible for the health of the soil. They introduce acid to the soil, which causes it to break down unnaturally. While these fertilizers can help plants to grow in that soil, they kill of microorganisms in that soil.
These organisms, when naturally present, protect the health of the plants and keep the ecosystem in that soil healthy.
Over time, chemical fertilizers can leach into the groundwater, making its way into our water supply. This is harmful to plant and animal life, as well as to any humans that come into contact with the untreated water.
In addition, plants grown in soil fertilized with chemicals is known to have less flavor and reduced nutritional values.
Compost filled with natural materials like shredded paper is a great alternative to chemical fertilizers
Know What You Can't Shred
Before you can start using paper shredder compost, it's important to learn what you can and cannot shred.
There are certain types of paper and other materials that make their way into shredders in a home or office environment that aren't safe for compost.
One example is plastic. This could come from folders, flyers, and credit cards that get shredded. While these materials can and should be recycled, they are often dyed with chemicals that can be harmful to compost being used to grow plants.
Some paper contains harmful dyes and other chemicals as well.
If the paper appears glossy or is covered in overly colorful ink, it could contain chemicals that shouldn't be added to your compost pile. Colored paper, however, often does not contain the same dyes, and is therefore safe for composting.
You'll also need to avoid putting staples, paper clips, and other non-paper items through your shredder. In addition to harming your paper shredder, these items aren't healthy for your paper shredder compost.
Creating a Shredder System
In order to optimize your paper shredder compost and avoid adding any harmful items to your compost pile, it's important to create a system for shredding.
If you are using a shredder at home, this may include sorting through your mail, junk mail, and any other documents that you plan to shred.
If you have large amounts of paper that need to be shredded on a daily or weekly basis, and a lot of that paper is likely to contain those dyes that are harmful to compost, it may be a good idea to invest in two shredders.
That way, one shredder can be dedicated to holding glossy, colorful paper and plastic and the other can be used for just paper that is suitable for compost.
If there is more than one adult or teenager in your home, make sure to educate them on your shredder system. The last thing that you want to do is to have to sort through your already-shredded paper to remove items that can't be added to your compost.
Creating a Shredding System in an Office
If you're using shredders from an office for your paper shredder compost, it may be a bit more complicated to put a shredder system into place.
If your office only produces a small amount of paper that needs to be shredded, it may be best to assign the shredding job to a single person. If only one person is in charge of sorting and shredding the paper, it'll be easier to ensure that only the right materials end up in the shredder.
If multiple people will be using the shredder, a second shredder for non-compost items might be a good choice. Signs reminding your employees which shredder is for what material can help prevent mistakes.
Why You Need to Start Shredding
Besides being great for composting, shredding is a great practice for offices and homes for other reasons as well.
Perhaps the most important benefit of paper shredding is that it increases security and helps to cut down on identity theft.
Identity thieves can steal your information using just a few details obtained from bills, credit card statements, and even junk mail that is tossed in the trash without being shredded.
Individuals aren't the only ones at risk; businesses can be affected by criminals sorting through the trash looking for important documents as well.
If you work with sensitive information from clients, showing them that you take care to protect their info by shredding documents can help to build trust.
In fact, depending on the industry that you work in and what types of documents you handle, there may be laws in place requiring you to properly shred your documents.
Getting Started with Paper Shredder Compost
Paper shredder compost is a great way to reduce waste, recycle paper trash, and improve soil quality. It offers a healthier alternative to chemical fertilizers. Plus, it helps encourage shredding important documents that could otherwise cause you to fall victim to identity theft.
If you're ready to start shredding and composting in your home or office, you need to start by finding the right shredder.
Shop our extensive selection of cross cut, industrial strength, and other shredder options today to find the one that meets your shredding needs.