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Best method to shred newspaper?  RSS feed

 
Andy Grove
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Hi everyone! I've been lurking around but this is only my second post in a couple of years. I logged back in and will continue to post when questions arise as this is the most interesting and helpful forum on the internet!

I have access to an almost unlimited supply of newspaper and want to use it in my compost because it's FREE and in practically unlimited supply. Yes, I know that there are concerns about low level toxins and metals in the colored portions of newspaper, but I will limit the amount of colored pages that are going into my compost. I'm just trying to use the resources that are readily available to me.

I am wondering what methods you use for shredding newspaper before composting. The newspaper comes to me in folded stacks (envision a stack of Sunday papers at the store). I have shredded by hand, but am curious about other methods. I have thought about soaking in a kiddie pool of water before shredding or even building a mulcher/shredder out of an old lawnmower, but I'm not sure how effective it would be on newspaper (as opposed to mulching wood).

What's the best/easiest method you use?
 
Jd Gonzalez
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Location: Virginia,USA zone 6
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forest garden greening the desert hunting trees
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A couple of ideas come to mind.
Stack and water each layer then cover it with a tarp. A variation would be to sandwich some "green" material in between your stacked newspapers to speed up composting. They will break down if kept moist and friendly to decomposers.
 
Steve Farmer
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forest garden greening the desert trees
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stick a puppy or a squirrel in the room with the stack of papers. Probly various animals that could do a good job of this.
 
Andy Grove
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Jd, that's ingenious (why didn't I think of that!)! I could layer grass clippings and green food waste between the layers, water, cover with a tarp, and have a vertical compost stack! "Turning" wouldn't be necessary if I waited long enough but if I wanted to speed it up, I could simply "re-stack" with the top layers to the bottom and the bottom layers would end up on top.

Steve, I have two boxers that could have accomplished that back in their puppy days but thankfully they're less destructive in their old age!
 
John Master
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I think dogs only chew up stuff you don't want to be destroyed...
 
Jd Gonzalez
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Location: Virginia,USA zone 6
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forest garden greening the desert hunting trees
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Andy Grove wrote:Jd, that's ingenious (why didn't I think of that!)! I could layer grass clippings and green food waste between the layers, water, cover with a tarp, and have a vertical compost stack! "Turning" wouldn't be necessary if I waited long enough but if I wanted to speed it up, I could simply "re-stack" with the top layers to the bottom and the bottom layers would end up on top.

You might even try modified hay bale gardening with newspapers.

You know what they say about idle minds.

If you do experiment, document with pictures please!
 
Cristo Balete
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andy, it all kind of goes back to chemistry and the chemistry of composting. Because newspaper is a carbon, we need to add nitrogen. Nitrogen breaks down carbon, but it needs to be part of a liquid so we can put it where we want it in the amount we need it, rather than have it just go up into the air. Then we need water and oxygen. So pee is your most basic, easy source of nitrogen, manure, soaked coffee grounds or coffee/tea bags, to name a few. Then we need carbon that allows oxygen to be underground, which is mowed grass, mowed weeds, mowed straw, or wooden branches if you want to do hugelkultur. Then we need to bury it.

If you dig a trench deep enough to do many layers, and do thin layers of newspaper, manure, soil, mowed stuff, wet that down really well, repeat until you fill up the trench. Then you can plant in it right away.
 
Jenna Ferresty
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Borrow a toddler. They may lose interest after a while, but you can probably get some good work out of them first.
 
Cristo Balete
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Jenna, I needed that laugh! Thank you!
 
Blake Wheeler
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Why not just buy a paper shredder?
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