Tons of wrapping paper, cardboard, Christmas cards and a tree

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

As per usual Christmas will have left us with a mountain of wrapping paper and cardboard from all the gifts and in addition to that Christmas cards and to top it all a tree.

All of those, with a few exceptions, can be composted at home in your composter or on your compost heap in your garden. You have got one, haven't you? A compost heap. I mean, if you have a garden.

Wrapping paper, cardboard and the cards are a great source of carbon too be added to your compost and, while the tree can be composted itself too there are better ways to recycle the tree than to try and compost it at home. As it is wood (we are talking here about a real tree) it will take a long time to decay and compost in the home composting environment. I shall come to the tree later.

Wrapping paper, unless it is the shiny, metalized, stuff, will compost just like ordinary paper. If you do have a paper shredder run it through that before as the small shreds will compost better and faster than do sheets of paper.

If the paper is good and clean and can be salvaged then do not throw it into the compost but keep it for reuse or too use as wraps for books.

The cardboard is a great source of carbon in your compost heap but, if you have the space in your shed to store it, will do better still at the bottom of a raised bed, for instance, to keep the weeds at bay.

Now we come to the Christmas cards: While most of them can be composted the question is whether you want to do that or whether you could not make use of them in some other way.

I tend to cut up such card – as card stock – from which to make 3x5 index cards, business/visiting cards (using a stamp for imprinting my details), gift tags or bookmarks. All, in my view, better reuse ideas than simply turning those cards into compost. The offcuts, obviously, are composted, as are any paper and card offcuts, for I also make my own notebooks from waste paper.

Depending on the kind of the cards some might be suitable even, I would say, for covers for such homemade notebooks. So, again, think reuse before you think compost.

© 2011