How to Compost Office Paper


Composting is an environmentally friendly way to get rid of organic materials while improving the condition of your garden. If you don’t have any recycling facilities for paper in your area, you can add office paper to your compost pile as long as it is first shredded so it will decompose faster. According to the EPA, adding paper to your compost heap will help decrease odor, as paper absorbs water. Paper also adds much-needed carbon to a compost pile, which is already nitrogen-rich; the carbon helps balance the nitrogen out.

Step 1

Run the office paper through a paper shredder. This will make is decompose faster in your compost heap.

Step 2

Open your compost container’s lid, if it has one. Sprinkle about 1 inch of shredded office paper on top of your compost pile. Add 1 to 2 inches of soil or manure on top of the paper.

Step 3

Turn the compost pile in two weeks to a month, adding 1 inch of shredded office paper each time, along with other compostable materials.

Step 4

Remove the composted paper when it is rich, black and crumbly. There should be no former traces of office paper in the compost. Spread the compost in your garden and work it into the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches. You can also leave the compost on the surface of your garden to work into the soil on its own.

Tips and Warnings

  • Office paper takes much longer to decompose than other forms of paper, such as newspaper. Keep the amount of office paper in your compost pile to 30 percent or less so it will not slow down the creation of compost.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper shredder


  • EPA: The Benefits of Including Paper in Composting
  • Organic Gardening: Compost Ingredients
Keywords: compost office paper, composting office paper, office paper

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer for many online publications including Garden Guides and eHow. She is also a contributing editor for Brighthub. She has been writing freelance since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing, and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.