One of the best ways to live a greener, more organic lifestyle is by planting your own herb and vegetable garden. Not only will you have a fresh supply of healthy food, but you will also improve the cost efficiency of an organic lifestyle.
One more step to a greener future is by using chemical-free compost, which you could even make yourself. You can do this by recycling paper for the aforesaid purpose.
You could even use this recycled compost in ordinary everyday gardening. Also, you could use cardboard, as we are here to answer the question: is cardboard compostable?
Is Cardboard Good Compost?
A straightforward answer to this question is, yes, cardboard is a very good compostable material. It is as valuable as paper and is just as abundant around the home.
It is a richly rewarding choice because you are recycling and doing your part for the environment. It also reduces the unnecessary space it takes up and is full of beneficial chemicals that will do wonders for your garden.
According to a study done by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, cardboard makes up about 31% of landfills in the US. Thus, by reducing the amount of wasted cardboard being thrown away, we can do our part to restore the balance of the environment and protect the local ecology of our towns and neighborhoods.
Keep in mind though that there are a variety of different cardboards in production and some are not entirely safe for the environment. We will discuss which cardboard is usable and which is best to discard in the recycling bin.
There are also preparations that need to be done if you want to create compost from cardboard. Furthermore, there are ways of speeding up the process and enriching the quality of the compost you are making.
To consider how good cardboard is for making compost, keep in mind that it is also made from wood, just like paper. Since wood consists of rich amounts of carbon, it is good to use as compost.
The nitrogen-to-carbon ratio of cardboard is 200:1, making it ideal for compost heaps where you want to balance out the nitrogen quantities. Basically, cardboard is an effective material and a good choice for creating compost.
What Types Of Cardboard Are Compostable?
The best choices of cardboard to use when it comes to creating compost would include the more common types, with only a few types being a no-go. The usable options include corrugated cardboard, flat cardboard, and wax-coated cardboard.
Corrugated cardboard would be the most commonly found type, as it is usually used for packaging. Corrugated cardboard is also the most effective and best to use since it is seldomly treated with inks and coatings.
Flat cardboard is also commonly found and is used for shoeboxes, cereal boxes, milk cartons, and the like. It is usually single-ply but tends to be harder than corrugated cardboard, yet it is still degradable enough to use as compost material.
Shiny cardboard or cardboard that has been coated with wax can still be used as compost and comes in a variety of forms, including paper cups, takeaway food boxes, and more. Keep in mind, this type of cardboard takes longer and is more difficult to turn into compost, so it would be better to use the other aforementioned kinds.
The Benefits Of Using Cardboard Compost
The many benefits that cardboard holds as a compost include improving the soil’s overall quality; retaining moisture, air, and nutrients; and preventing erosion. It is also beneficial to help suppress weed growth.
Compost adds healthy elements to the soil that would not be present otherwise. These include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It also improves the number of micronutrients, such as manganese, zinc, copper, and iron.
Although plants are only slightly dependent on these nutrients, it would still improve the general health of your plantation. In addition, these nutrients will attract earthworms and other soil-living critters that will add to the overall quality of the soil.
It has also been proven that compost reduces the presence of pests and diseases in the garden. It does so without the use of poisonous pesticides.
How To Prepare Cardboard For the Compost Heap
The best way to produce compost from cardboard is by shredding it beforehand or by tearing it into as small pieces as possible. This will speed up the process and make it much easier to decompose.
You would also want to remove all unwanted foils or tapes that might be on the cardboard before adding it to the compost heap. Things like adhesive tapes are not biodegradable and contain toxins that would be harmful.
There you have it. Cardboard is a biodegradable material that is very useful to use as compost.
It is full of nutrients and is high in carbon, and by recycling cardboard in this manner, you are reducing the amount of waste that gets dumped in landfills. Not only would you be improving the organic quality of your life and playing a heroic part in the conservation of the environment, but you would also save plenty of money on fertilizer.