How to Decompose Paper at Home

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Things You'll Need

  • Paper shredder or scissors

  • 5 gallon or larger bucket

  • Dirt

  • Food scraps

  • Worms

  • Shovel


Glossy or coated paper, like from magazines, won’t decompose quickly.

Decompose leftover paper at home instead of putting it in the trash.

Instead of throwing away paper, use it for compost. Paper breaks down overtime. The amount of time the paper takes to decompose varies. For example, if the temperature drops to freezing, the paper won't decompose. Mixing items like banana peels, bread and strawberries, which mold quickly, with the paper increases the rate of decomposition. Worms will also make the process occur faster.

Step 1

Shred or cut the paper into small pieces. Remove any stickers, glue or plastic parts from the paper.

Step 2

Pour a 2- inch layer of dirt at the bottom of a bucket. Add a layer of paper, and then another layer of dirt. Alternate until all the paper is in the bucket. Add in worms, food peelings and other biodegradable leftovers (no meat or dairy.)

Step 3

Place the bucket outside in a safe location. Turn the dirt and paper once a week.


Racheal Ambrose

Racheal Ambrose started writing professionally in 2007. She has worked for the minority publishing company Elite Media Group Inc., Ball Bearings online magazine, "Ball State Daily News" and "The Herald Bulletin." Her articles focus on minority and women's issues, children, crafts, housekeeping and green living. Ambrose holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ball State University.