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4 Uses for Shredded Paper in the Garden

With identity fraud statistics still on the rise, people are turning to shredders to minimize their troubles. Unfortunately, this leaves the owner with a bag full of paper particles and another problem to solve—how best to recycle the leftovers. Sure, there are recycling plants which will accept shredded waste, but they aren’t always as accessible as you might hope. Often there are rules and regulations that must be followed before the paper can be reused.

The solution could be closer to home than you imagine. Shredded paper is an ideal substitute for a variety of items used in horticultural chores. Put those fingers to an even greener use and give your old receipts a new lease on life.

shredded paper

Composting

People often forget that paper comes from a natural resource. Mixing equal parts of shredded paper and grass results in an easily composted blend. This will be broken down in the same manner as any other garden waste, providing nutrition throughout your ecosystem. Remember to keep the mixture free of moisture, as this can cause the paper to mat together, restricting oxygen diffusion (find more tips in Compost at Home). Try stirring the paper deeper into the heap to avoid this problem.

bean trench

Bean and Pea Trenches

Paper’s water retaining qualities can actually aid the growth of small crops. Peas and beans are conventionally grown in trenches, which promote the formation of longer roots. Shredded paper can be added to the pit of these trenches, as a means of water distribution. The plant’s roots absorb water from this layer and allow the produce to thrive. This technique, whilst making the most of your shredded waste, can also reduce the chances of over-watering. As long as the paper is wet, the plant will have a sufficient supply.

paper mulch

Mulching

Shredded paper is as effective in seed protection as many organic mulches. Spreading it around a new flower bed can suppress the growth of weeds, regulate soil temperature and generally improve fertility. Many newspapers have switched to organic inks in light of this use, but it is always best to check the dyes used in your documents. Start by wetting the strips to encourage the decomposition process and lay them carefully around newly planted crop. The paper will allow fertilizer and water to reach the soil, whilst starving weeds of sunlight and nutrition.

seed starting

Seed Starters

If you want to give your seeds a little more TLC, offer them a helping hand with the construction of homemade seed starters. Blend together water and paper to create a pulp which can then be set in a device such as a cake tray. The molds should only take around 24 hours to dry if left in a warm, dry place. These can be transferred directly to soil, the paper fibers providing the perfect first meal for your seedlings.

Avoid Harmful Materials

Whilst most paper is beneficial to your garden, materials such as cellophane and gloss can be extremely dangerous. Be sure to remove these before you begin mulching or composting so your plants can mature undisturbed.


Galvo Shredders is a shredding retailer offering a vast range of machines for all intents and purposes. Its founder, Piers Chapple, has a wealth of experience in the industry, offering quick and efficient service to all his customers.

lori robinson
2/23/2015 1:58:38 PM

IIs there any concern about the ink from the paper causing harm to soil microbes or the plants? What about dyes used in the paper? Thanks.