Newspaper and cardboard – as well as egg cartons – can be composted. They are ‘brown’, carbon-rich materials and they help to absorb moisture. But, not all papers are the same and some are bad for your compost.

Don’t add too much

Because paper, cardboard and newspaper are so readily available, it is easy to add too much to your compost, upsetting the green-brown nitrogen to carbon balance (1 part green to to parts brown). Take care not to add too much. Paper has very little in the way of nutrients and it is a product that can be easily recycled.


While newsprint may contain some chlorine from the bleaching process, this isn’t considered to be detrimental to the health of the compost. Also, as most newspaper inks are soy-based, these are not harmful either.

The ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ paper-composting issue is related to the pigments and chemicals in coloured inks and also the petro-chemicals that are used to treat glossy papers, like those used by magazines. These papers don’t break down as easily as newsprint.

Keep coloured and glossy papers as well as white office paper, oiled, waxed and other treated papers, away from your compost and recycle these instead.

Good papers

Brown and corrugated cardboard (no bleach, no glue) as well as egg cartons and newsprint are great for composting

Tear and shred

Be sure to shred or tear everything that you put into your YOLO GREEN Compost Tumbler. Smaller pieces will incorporate easier into the mix and they breakdown faster than large sheets.

Composting newspaper and cardboard
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