Composting With Newspaper


Newspaper is biodegradable, so that when it is composted it turns into nutritious, mineral-rich topsoil. Even beginning gardeners can easily learn how to compost newspaper in order to produce the rich topsoil that organic gardeners refer to as "black gold."

Step 1

Rip any quantity of old newspapers into strips, or run them through a paper shredder. Smaller pieces decompose faster.

Step 2

Dig a hole in your back yard, 1 to 2 feet deep and 1 to 2 feet wide.

Step 3

Cover the bottom of the hole, up to 4 inches deep, with newspaper and lightly spray it with water.

Step 4

Add a layer of grass clippings and/or kitchen scraps to the top of your newspaper. This will hasten the newspaper's decomposition and provide an environment that bacteria, earthworms and microbes enjoy.

Step 5

Cover the food and yard waste with a layer of organic garden soil. If there's room in the hole for another set of layers, just be sure that you keep layering in the same order: newspaper, followed by grass clippings and/or kitchen waste, then garden soil.

Step 6

Leave the newspaper compost untouched for three months. After this you can sift the matter into a wheelbarrow for distribution in your garden.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some items do not work well in a compost. Meat products, including bones, meat, cheeses and eggs, are not good things to compost. Neither is grease or butter.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Paper shredder (optional)
  • Shovel
  • Grass clippings
  • Food waste


  • Making a Compost
  • Composting
  • Composting with Worms
Keywords: composting with newspaper, newspaper compost, newspaper in compost

About this Author

Lisa Russell is an entrepreneur and writer from Washington State, with a professional background in education, cosmetology and the restaurant industry. She's been published in regional parenting publications, homeschooling publications and has published over 10,000 articles online since 1999. She studied Early Childhood Education at Antelope Valley College.