Using Cardboard for Compost

Using cardboard in compost is quite the rewarding experience that makes great use of boxes taking up space. With different types of cardboard to compost, knowing what you are working with is important for learning how you should compost cardboard.

So you’re sure I can compost cardboard?

Yes, that’s why this article exists. Cardboard waste actually makes up over 31 percent of landfills. Composting things like old packaging boxes and candy boxes is a practice that is becoming more popular now that people are beginning to realize the benefits of composting. Composting cardboard is perfect if you’ve moved recently or if you’re cleaning up the garage or attic.

Types of cardboard you can compost.

Composting cardboard, especially if they’re large boxes or single sheets of cardboard, isn’t especially difficult so long as you set up and maintain your compost pile correctly.

Corrugated cardboard is the type usually used for packaging. As long as it is broken into small pieces, any type of corrugated cardboard can be used. On the other hand, flat cardboard is the type of cardboard most often found in cereal boxes, shoe boxes, and other similar flat-surfaced cardboards.

Regardless of the type used, shredding the cardboard first works best when using it in compost. But if you can’t shred it, just rip it or cut it up into as small of pieces as you can.

How to compost it all.

It’s pretty critical that whatever cardboard you’re using is broken into small pieces, as mentioned above. Large pieces just won’t decompose as quickly. A tip: soaking the extra candy boxes and other cardboard pieces in water with a bit of liquid detergent will help to speed up the decomposition process.

Begin your compost pile with a small layer of shredded cardboard and include other high-carbon materials like old hay, dead leaves, and straw. After this, you’ll want to add a 4-inch layer of materials rich in nitrogen on top of the cardboard. Materials such as fmanure, spoiled vegetables, or fruit peels will work here.

Next, you can add a thinner layer of soil on top of this second layer. You’ll want to continue adding layers in this fashion until the pile is approximately 4 cubic feet. It is imperative that the compost pile be kept super moist. Add more water or cardboard depending on how wet it feels. The cardboard will soak up the extra water.

Finally, all you have to do from here is turn the compost pile every 5 days or so to speed up the decomposition process. In 6 to 8 months, the compost will be usable in your garden.