How to Turn Shredded Paper into Compost Garden Plant Food

How to Turn Shredded Paper into Compost Garden Plant Food

G’day I’m mark from self-sufficient me
and in this video I’m gonna show you guys how to turn this shredded paper
into this fantastic fertile beautiful organic plant food that’s right turn
your awful overcharging council rates bill into wonderful composted worm and
plant food let’s get into it! [Intro Music] It’s often said that we’re moving into a paperless society and whilst it might be true that yeah we are in a digital age and we’re
using less paper the fact is that there is still a lot of paper in the world
today but there’s no reason why this paper can’t be repurposed and put to
good use back into the garden all this takes is a little preparation small
amount of effort and the rest is done by bacteria other small animals and time.
Homemade compost like this is far superior to anything you’re gonna buy
commercially because it’s made at home organically it’s fresh it’s not high
heat treated or radiated and it contains microbes that continue to improve your
soil and also help plants grow once you put this into your regular garden beds
so in fact you’re not only lowering your own environmental footprint by recycling
and creating compost this way you’re also saving money and helping your
plants to grow better by using your own premium soil additive turning shredded
paper into compost is a pretty easy process but I’m going to break it down
for you get it break it down into four easy steps now to help with this process
all you really need is a couple of storage containers some large ones would
be good a paper shredding machine of course which I don’t have here because
we do it inside in the home office some secateurs helps and a tumbler now if you
haven’t got a compost tumbler like this you can use the old pile method it’s
just going to take a little bit longer for you to
break down the paper and make the compost. Step number one, collect your
paper and shred it use a large container I like these plastic bins they’re
perfect and they’re not very expensive they hold a lot and they look pretty
tidy collect all your waste paper things like bills speeding fines old lotto
tickets junk mail from your local council or
letters from your local parliamentary members all those types of materials are
great to be composited down because manufacturers aren’t allowed to produce
paper or ink that’s toxic anymore and by the time it’s composted down it’s
perfectly fine to use in your garden however what you shouldn’t shred and use
in your compost is plastics of course things like contact covered textbooks,
packaging, credit cards or even those business envelopes with the clear
plastic window. I’ve been guilty in the past of shredding them and all that
happens is you end up with some slivers of that plastic in your final composting
and you have to pick it out doesn’t do it any harm or anything it’s just that
it’s not ideal is it? Step number two fill the tumbler chamber. When I’m
composting in one of these things I like to use a two-thirds to one ratio meaning
filling the tumbler chamber with about two thirds paper and one third wet or
green waste such as kitchen scraps and green garden waste
nice lush plants like galangal stems are great for this simply cut into small
pieces and throw them in. In this batch I also added some used bedding from our
guinea pig tractor as the extra poop and urea adds a little more nutrient to the
mix manures from guinea pigs sheep chickens cows horses and that type of
thing are completely fine to use in one of these tumblers or in composting in
general, however, I probably don’t need to mention this but I will for those who
are new to composting what I wouldn’t add is leftover meats
dog cat or human poop as these materials can breed dangerous pathogens that can
create diseases and you don’t want to add this to your vegetable garden I mean
I certainly wouldn’t be touching with my hands if it had that stuff in there now
I know there’s some tumblr companies and people say that you can compost you know
cat and dog manures and human poop and all that… if, yeah, you know, it’s not for me you can
if you want but I would recommend you didn’t. Step number three –
turn your tumbler. [Laughing] I told you these steps were easy didn’t I. You want to try to
turn your tumbler every day if you can and it helps if you put it in a nice
convenient place like somewhere where you’re walking past so that you can
remember to just give it a bit of a turn… Turning your tumbler like this what
it does is it aerates the mixing side and that helps to break down faster and
also if it’s sitting in one spot if you can imagine just sitting there sort of
pooling in its juices it can rot and get all stinky and smelly and not
perform and not mix with the other dry ingredients so yeah turning it like that
helps a great deal in a matter of days you’ll start to see the mixed
discolouring and breaking down it will literally change structure before your
eyes and don’t worry about seeing bugs or fermentation flies invading your
tumbler as these all help the process your compost should be ready between six
weeks and six months and the reason why I give such a long time frame or window
is because every composting situation is different and I know some companies and
tumbler companies will say you can make compost in under two weeks or our
composter will make fast compost in four weeks or six weeks max and whilst that
can happen it’s not always that fast some materials break down slower than
others some mixes of ingredients breakdown better
than others composting at a warmer time of year will make the breakdown faster
then if done in winter even here in the subtropics I’ve noticed our first batch
started in autumn has taken much longer than our second started in spring. Step
number four – use the final product use this shredded paper compost in the
garden like as a top dressing or dig it into the soil as a soil improver it’ll
add nutrients it’ll help your plants grow nice and healthy because as well as
nutrients compost has great water holding qualities and will improve the
overall structure of your medium if you don’t have an immediate useful your
compost store it somewhere to use it later like in a bucket or in a bin like
this or even underneath a tarp somewhere out of the way. So, those were the four
easy steps on how to turn shredded paper into compost like this so now let’s
bring you over here and let’s go through the compost and just have a quick look
at it okay so I wanted you to have a close look at this so that you can see
exactly how this paper turned out really does look beautiful doesn’t it but you
will see bits of egg see that eggshell there’s bit of eggshell there there’s
little bits of… you can still see bits of paper you will get the odd little piece
of paper this will all break down in the soil anyway and look here there’s a
little bit of plastic that’s what I mean well you know you’re going to get these
little shards of plastic if you are like me and forgot to blooming-well like
there’s one here’s a good example that’s from the envelope but anyway like I said
you can pick them out it’s not a big deal but you’ve got bits of stick that’s
still a bit of galangal root there and you know you’re going to get the odd
pieces of bark or debris that hasn’t broken down that’s all fine you can sift
this and use that for seedlings if you wanted or I like to just whack it
straight in to the garden like this and it will
continue to break down over time and just add good structure to your soil. One
thing I wanted to share with you was just how good this compost smells now
it’s a little bit weird but when you smell it like that it smells really
earthy soily and nice you know like a like a rainy morning you know in the
forest it’s got that beautiful smell about it and that is another way you can
tell that your compost is done but let’s go over just some more points about
making this don’t stress too much about the quantities and the mix that you put
in there it’s amazing isn’t it that this was the majority of it was shredded
paper but when you’re making this mix you might find that you know you’ve put
in a lot of shredded paper and you’re turning it and it’s too dry if it’s too
dry simply just add a little bit more wet ingredients to it add some more
kitchen scraps scraps to it or green waste whatever it is and that will add
moisture to it and it’ll make it break down better likewise if you find the mix
is too wet and sloppy well then add some more paper to it and that will dry it
out a little bit more you can continually add materials over time as
your compost is being made but if you’re adding you know your materials
constantly because you want to grow that compost the end result into a much
bigger one and fill that chamber up that’s fine it might get a bit heavy in
the composter you can do that but just remember it’s gonna take a long time
then if you’re continually adding raw materials to compost that’s nearly
completed if you’ve got a dual chamber like this what I do is I pack one full
let it break down and the other one I use as like an overflow chamber where I
can just stick all the overflow compost and kitchen scraps in there when that
first one is done and made well then I pack the second one that’s already got
this overflow in there a packet full of paper and then turn that into the one
that I don’t touch and I’ll use the other one
as the overflow chamber again if you know what I mean… I just swap it
around if you find that the final mix is still too heavy and gluggy and say a bit
like clay what you can do is use some clay breaker some Gypsum mix it in with
your compost and that’ll break it up nicely and I’m sure you’re wondering
what’s my opinion on the tumbler system versus the bay system and to be honest
I like both and I’m using both I used to use old plastic containers and not a
tumbler it was a sort of similar method except it doesn’t get tumbled around
both can be used in conjunction with each other
I like the bay system because you can put more in it and because it’s in the
ground it allows other types of animals like worms to access the compost but it
does take longer for the compost to break down a tumbler composter like that
does a great job because it’s faster it’s convenient because you can just
sort of stick it in and just turn it every now and again so I like both
systems and I recommend both types if you’re wondering do I recommend that
particular brand the Maze brand of tumbler jury is out at the moment I’ll
be doing a review on it in a couple of weeks and I’ll let you guys know exactly
what I think of this tumbler now that I’ve had some time to use it and that’s
how you turn shredded paper into beautiful compost you know there’s
something really satisfying about turning your paper bills into plant and
worm food if you liked this video make sure you give it a big brown or green
thumbs up and share it around because that helps a lot as well thanks a lot
for watching if you’ve got any comments whack’em down below and if you’ve got any
of your own tips on how to make compost whack’em down below as well bye for now [Outro music – birds chirping ] Outro music

100 thoughts on “How to Turn Shredded Paper into Compost Garden Plant Food

  1. G'day everyone, just wanted to say thanks for getting this video over 200k views! Just one extra point about shredding the paper – it increases the surface area which helps it to break down easier and faster. Remember: Be self sufficient in something… 😉

  2. what plants like ink? What chemicals are in printing ink that plants like? Isnt that called polluting?

  3. Step 1:Dig a hole in empty space of raised bed. Step 2: Throw shredded paper in hole. Step 3: Cover paper with dirt. Step 4: No step 4.

  4. A point about little bits of plastic in the garden. Yes it isn't ideal but where else should we put it in the landfill? Or the ocean? I just wonder about it, it's just a conservation argument really. Its like would you rather all the plastic of the world be gathered together and cubed and buried or shredded and buried and spread out? This kind of stuff isn;t really explained to us regular folks and people will obviously assume put it in the garbage bin to go to landfill be the best option but do those people actually know what happens to the soil in and around landfills? Toxic asf. SO, if a little bit here and there doesn;t have any major affects due to leeching chemicals etc then why not put it in the garden? If everyone did it and had a reduce plastic use mindset maybe we could eliminate plastic from our landfill needs. Idk just an idea, it seems like one of those assumptions we just make because littering is bad

  5. Meat eating animal manure is okay for the garden but yes it is more risky depending on the type of food you feed them for the plants and in the case of pathogens that affect humans aswell. If you really want to use it because I don't condone bagging your animal shit and binning it, that's like protecting the shit for ten thousand years or whatever. Put it in a separate stacking compost bin that is airtight. An airtight container will breed anaerobic bacteria which will feed of the other types of Oxygen loving bacteria. (The oxygen loving bacteria may be some of the one that are pathgens to us) so by depriving them of air we effectively kill them and break down the matter using completely different set of bacteria. Break it down for over a year, and it should be okay. I have heard of this method being used on permaculture farms for human poo, so it would probably be okay for dogs and cats poo too.

  6. Thanks Self-Sufficient Me for showing me how I can get rid of all that shredded paper I've been saving! I was worried about including heavy metals etc. from the ink, but apparently the ink is made from soybeans. (Who'dafigure that?)
    If you do not have a composting tumbler, you can make your own. I highly recommend this video on how to do that:
    I used his idea and it works beautifully!
    This one, done by kids is also excellent and it has a handle to help you turn the barrel:

  7. I live 1 1/2 blocks from a huge dog park. I live on the pathway. No sidewalks. Its an old neighborhood. NE Portland Oregon. The last year especially, lots of 30 somethings, new to the neighborhood, buying old homes, enjoy walking their dogs to the park, but think nothing of stopping to let their dogs poop and pee on my flowerbeds….I came out all summer to say "Please no dog pee on my flowers !" All 2019 summer… People act surprised ! Like "Whats the problem?" Thanks for mentioning Dog and Cat Poop and Pee not recommended in flower and veggie beds….

  8. I work at Walmart and they won't let me bring home a big bag of shredded paper, and they are H U G E bags lol even offered to buy it. I've been seduced to the organic side, so coming across your videos on my day off was a treat! Thank you!!!! I just started my first worm bin last month. I don't think I ordered enough and gonna order some more this week. I thought 250 worms sounds like a lot lol boy was I wrong, they may have filled the palm of my hand hahaha any Sir, Thank you. Watching back to Eden brought me here so I subbed, I wish I would have learned more sooner in life

  9. I love your videos and I love using shredded paper I am doing a layered garden bed in containers as done by Robbie and Gary on YouTube it's working great. I also have a 50-gallon barrel that we made into a composter and we just roll it back and forth and it does a great job. Thank you for all of your wonderful information and teaching videos they help immensely. I am growing in the state of Arizona in this Southern desert so my compost tends to break down a little faster baby and in cooler climates. I appreciate that companies send you their items to cry out like your composter it really helps because I'm looking and thinking about getting a composter like that

  10. So, I shouldn’t add meat, the neighbours dog/cat, and human poop? That cat really is starting to drive us all nuts would have been nice to get something back from it for once 😂

  11. Thanks for the information…very helpful indeed👍 However, you didn't mention newspaper…Why? Is it bad for plants????

  12. It's actually perfectly fine to compost your own poop. you should just treat it with ashes and boiling hot water

  13. Would I be able to compost my neighbor? He gets on my nerves! Nor do I want go though the effort of digging a hole! I’m just pure lazy I guess! LOL! Great vid!

  14. I suppose if you're vegan, there's nothing wrong with adding your own poop to your garden. Might get some awkward looks from your friends and neighbors when you chat with them about your gardening habits though…especially if you've given them produce in the past.


  16. Glad to see I am not the only one doing this, avoid the store commercial compost and make it yourself the plants in your garden will thrive on it.

  17. From South Africa. Love this guy. His enthusiasm is infectious and his advice good. Been composting for about 30 years now.

  18. Hi, love this channel. I tutor at local Comm College. They shred their docs and put bagged matl in the hall for the trash. I asked about taking this home for compost. No can do. They said it was a security issue. Go figure.

  19. Mark, Thanks so much for your wonderful and useful videos. I have two questions:
    1. Your comment on the requirement for using non-toxic paper and ink: is that just in Australia? Does it apply here in the U.S.?
    2. What about newspaper? We have a lot of that. We typically reuse for covering floors, etc., when doing "messy projects." After that, the psper that didn't get dirty is recycled. I wonder if I could compost instead. And could I avoid shredding? That would take a lot of time, and certainly shorten the life of our shredder.
    Thanks for any insights you can provide!

  20. Hi Mark, it is always so good to watch your video series. It really triggers me to gardening hobby again. On shredded paper part, what do you think about the ink? Be it from home printer or shredded newspaper, magazine? Isnt it toxic? Thanks

  21. LOVE YOUR VIDEOS MAN! Im in Southern California and I compost using EM1 I think it comes from Hawaii but its amazing stuff, you can put it in spray bottles and quickly and easily inoculate your bin with all the beneficial bacteria and fungi that will help break all this down.

  22. Why would you not compost cat,dog or human poo? Sheep, cow, horse and other animals, are not free of harmful pathogens. And actually, if you get manure from an out side source, you could be getting antibiotics and hormones that were given to the animals. And those are just as dangerous or even mor dangerous

  23. I'd love to see you test the NPK of your finished product. I'd imagine breaking down the paper (also wood-chips, sawdust etc) would give you a severely nitrogen deficient finished product. On the other hand, adding something nitrogen-positive such as grass clippings would likely speed up the break-down process a great deal.

  24. What about taking a whiz in the tumbler as ive lately just found out that urine is a very good if not nearly perfect fertilizer and also would adding ash from fire pit affect the compost breakdown process?

  25. I'm worried about the ink and the printing colors on that paper. What about residues (metal, oil) from the shredder? Are there any studies about the short and long term effects on the microbes, plants, animals with exposure to this kind of composted paper? What substances are used on that paper? Do they decompose? How? Which of these might be harmful? In what way? Do they accumulate in the soil? in the groundwater? In organisms? in humans?

  26. Are you sure that you can fertilize vegetables with this? Paper can contain many toxic substances, especialy if it is printed like newspaper. If you are sure that you are using some eco-vegan-nontoxic paper it is ok :), but I warn against mindless use of all types of paper for this purpose

  27. Be very careful which kind of paper you use! paper can be some of the most toxic crap around everything you put into your dirt goes into your food including chemicals and poisons. I’m not sure this is such a good idea

  28. Hello. I dont if u answer questions. But how do u feel about adding worms to a tumbler composter? Good or bad idea. It would fasten to process, isn't? Thanks

  29. We compost our dog poo in a worm composter. It works well & the compost is only used on non-edible planting. Incidentally, Of our 4 citrus trees (none of which receive any compost from dog poo), the one nearest that worm composter is many times healthier than all the others combined.

  30. I have made compost in two weeks using plain grass clippings and a compost tumbler during August here in Florida. However, the more "brown" material you add, the longer it takes because it's a "cooler" mix. Local temperature averages matter as well. Keep compost humidity up, but not wet, as well. Good compasting.

  31. you live at approximately the same latitude as San Diego, CA. I'm guessing you live in Sunshine Coast or near there. Making compost at 45 latitude is very different than 26.

  32. How about chemicals in the ink? And what nutrients do you get from this paper-derived compost? As I know, paper is made of cellulose mainly, which has no value for plant feeding.

  33. Paper products can contain the chemical bpa. One should research and understand the sources.

    No lotto tickets, no flyers, no receipts and even non bpa paper can be contaminated.

  34. I want to make my own compost. I don't have anything but 5 gal buckets, but since I don't have a big garden, so I'm thinking my buckets would work and easy to turn. Am I thinking right?? I don't have lids for them, but no problem get them. They'd be small, but I could easily mix it. My "garden" is made up of 5 gallon buckets.

  35. I am sorry to share my concerns with you here but isn't this composted material rich of micro plastic and heavy metals due to the papers treatment and inks?

  36. You've inspired me once again! I'm an old gal, alone and self sufficient, who loves a garden! I have one acre and I think that tumbler would suit me just fine! I'm looking forward to your review.

  37. It concerns me with all the talk now about plastic pollution and 'micro plastics' that by doing this I would be introducing micro plastics into the compost by way of the printer toner, which is up to 95% plastic depending on colour, brand, type etc. I don't know if that is something to be worried about or not but it is something we are starting to hear a lot more of now. The quantities are probably insignificant in this case but I would love to hear an 'expert' opinion on it.

  38. Mark, I love your site but I disagree greatly with this one. I lived in Maine by the paper Mills paper is made with highly toxic chemicals.

  39. In the UK the windows in window envelopes are made from cellophane.
    Now I need to say that I'm speaking British English..
    Cellophane in the UK IS NOT a petrochemical plastic.
    I appreciate that in the USA the word "cellophane" means pretty well anything. In the UK it's exclusively a "paper" product and is wholly compostible.
    We don't speak the same language but my guess is that even in the USA the windows envelopes are fine. Despite doom merchant Dan here.
    Not sure? Easy…Test it in water. Hot water.
    If it turns into sludge then it's paper. .
    Yep transparent paper.
    Onward. ..

  40. Mark, most people don't even know where paper comes from. Which is why turning wood back into compost isn't black magic 😀

  41. My concern with shredded paper is that the toners and inks on the them are usually toxic petrochemicals. I'd prefer to keep such things out of my environment. Do you know if the composting process destroys those toxins?

  42. G'day, Mark! Say, I'm actually a normal heterosexual man, but for some lewd reason, I'd like to see you wear an athletic supporter OVER your shorts when you do your videos. Go figure! No problems with you or your knowledge – I think you are a consummate master gardener/farmer, environmentalist, role model and I actually envy you! Just consider making me happy, and put the jockstrap on, OK, mate!?

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