Compost that Wrapping Paper!

With the Christmas season upon us, here's an important reminder: You can compost wrapping paper - and many of the other trappings of gift giving.

I know many people believe it's not safe to compost colored paper, but experts agree the inks used today are quite safe - free from harmful chemicals, or so extremely low in them that they just don't show up in finished compost. Most modern inks, in fact, are soy ink.

So rather than throwing away all that paper (a waste!) or recycling it (which uses more energy), compost it into something that is extremely beneficial to your garden. (For the basics on how to compost, visit this post.)

According to the Cornell Cooperative Extension's website, all wrapping paper can be composted except:

* High gloss paper
* Paper with plastic or metallic coatings
* Paper that is "Astro bright" (i.e., "shockingly bright")

Glossy or Astro bright paper can be recycled. Plastic or metallic-coated paper must be thrown in the trash.

You can also compost:

* Cardboard wrapping paper tubes
* Cardboard boxes
* Tissue paper

While most composting experts recommend shredding, tearingm or cutting these items into small pieces because this will make them decompose faster, I don't find this necessary. Here's how I do it:

* No paper should go into the compost bin flat or relatively flat. This makes the paper stick together and become a slimy mass that takes forever to decompose. Generally, I just crumble it up and stick it in my composter.

* Cardboard tubes should not be flattened. Instead, leave them as is. Long tubes that don't fit in the composter can be cut, torn, or folded just enough to fit.

Doing something great for your garden in the middle of December? What's not to love! Happy composting!

This post featured on Homestead Abundance

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