How To Turn Junk Mail into Gardener's Gold

Turning Junk Mail into Gardener's Gold

by Joe Lamp'l

I want to isolate and elaborate on my favorite part of the indoor composting process. Inside my house, the shredder is the equivalent to the compost bin outdoors, based on how much it is put to work. I shred everything! In fact, I derive great pleasure from it. If you think that sounds a little odd, just know that my kids argue over who gets to shred the next stack.

The point is so much that makes its way into our homes is fair game for the shredder. As long as there is junk mail, schoolwork, bills or anything else printed, there will always be and endless source of compostable material from inside the house. And while we’re having some good clean family fun reducing unwanted paper to confetti, I am creating a wonderful carbon-rich addition for the compost pile and ultimately the best soil amendment in the world!

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With the help of a good shredder, you can make great composting ingredients quickly and easily and finally put those papers in their proper place! Shredders are readily available today from many sources; drug stores, office supply stores and the big warehouse clubs all sell them. I use a high quality, home office version that I purchased for about $150. It can take about 15 sheets at a time, cuts paper into confetti and handles a large volume, all without removing a single staple or paperclip. It can even cut through CDs, DVDs and credit cards. However, knowing that everything I shred is destined for the compost pile, I don’t include these.

As with most things in life, you get what you pay fShredded paper used in compost, Green Living Supplyor, and so it is with shredders too. I’ve had the small and inexpensive trash can size in the past but to me, they’re more trouble than they’re worth. The small cans fill up too quickly for all the trash I have. On my current model, I even enjoy hauling out the container of confetti paper to dump into the compost pile. It’s quite attractive actually. In short order, all the different colors from the confetti are soon reduced to the same unrecognizable common denominator of finished compost.

Even if some day we do actually become a ‘paperless’ society, I can’t imagine junk mail ever going away. And as long as there is junk mail, there will an endless source of compostable material from inside the house…meaning there will always be an endless source! Besides the true pleasure I get in reducing these offensive mailings to confetti, I must say, I am amazed at how quickly that volume of paper adds up, not to mention that for much of my life, I was contributing so much unnecessary waste to the landfill.

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Now, with the affordability of quality shredders for the home, I encourage you to get one and start using it right away, especially since there’s not much else going on the compost pile this time of year. Although the extra compost you’ll make is the direct benefit, keeping all that paper out of the landfill is a simple and significant way to do something good for our planet too.

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