How to Make Compost Out of Newspaper


Newsprint is rich in carbon and can make an ideally compatible composting material to green organic materials. When shredded into narrow strips and added to the compost pile, newsprint will decompose fairly quickly. This makes for useful compost and also saves the cost and energy outlay required to to discard, transport and recycle newspapers. When building a compost pile always strive to maintain the 50-50 balance of green to brown organic material and consider newspaper to be brown material.

Step 1

Shred newspaper by hand into narrow strips 2 inches wide or less. The smaller the strips the faster the material will break down. Separate the individual strands of newsprint as much as possible to create a loose, light and airy tangle of paper.

Step 2

Layer newsprint into a new compost pile with like carbon-rich material such as leaves between even layers of green material such as grass clippings and vegetable matter. Add newsprint to an existing and active compost pile in equal volume parts to green materials.

Step 3

Water the compost pile to make the newsprint and other organic materials damp but not soaking wet. Moisten the pile as needed every few weeks to stoke the microbial processes.

Step 4

Turn the compost pile once per week, moving the material held at the center of the pile out toward the sides and top of the pile. Churn the exterior material toward the center of the pile where it will have an opportunity to heat up and decompose.

Things You'll Need

  • Shredded newsprint
  • Green organic material
  • Brown organic material
  • Water
  • Large garden fork


  • University of Florida IFAS
  • Texas A&M University
Keywords: compost soil elements, newspaper newsprint, green brown organic materials

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.