When you can’t obtain dried plant material, cardboard is a fantastic substitute for the carbon-rich brown matter. A well-known solution is to use shredded cards in compost.
However, dealing with big amounts of packaging and boxes can be difficult. I’m occasionally confronted with a mountain of cardboard boxes that need to be chopped and shredded in preparation for the compost bin.
After a few attempts, you’ll naturally begin to ponder what the best answer is. So, how can you compost cardboard by shredding it? This article will provide you with answers on how to shred cardboard for compost.
Before putting cardboard packing in a compost container, you should remove any plastic from it. Flatten the cardboard on a big surface before using a box cutter to cut it into strips. Work will be easier if you cut following the corrugated lines. It’s also a good idea to wet the card ahead of time.
Cardboard is a superb carbon-rich brown matter alternative. Make sure the cardboard is free of fasteners and plastic. Shredding cardboard is a time-consuming and labor-intensive procedure.
However, if you want to use this plentiful material in your compost, you’ll need to figure out how to deal with it.
6 Methods on How To Shred Cardboard For Compost
1. Using a box cutter
- A box cutter is a super sharp knife with the ability to slice through cardboard easily.
- This procedure requires a lot of human labor and isn’t a long-term solution.
- However, if you only need to shred a single load of cardboard, a box cutter is the best option as it involves fewer efforts than scissors.
- If you’re using corrugated cardboard, be careful to cut along it as it’ll make your life a million times easier.
- Wet the cardboard to make the task 200 times simpler. Water softens the cardboard and makes cutting simpler.
2. Using an electric cutter/band saw/circular saw
- An electric cutter eliminates the need for physical labor and makes quick work of a few cardboard sheets.
- You could go even further by purchasing a band saw, circular saw or a tiny chainsaw. These tools can rip through numerous thick layers of cardboard at once, resulting in nice, even pieces.
- Stack cardboard layers, secure them with something hefty on either end and start cutting!
- When using an electric saw, remember to wear eye protection and a face mask.
- They can kick up a lot of sawdust or make things worse by sending small cardboard shards flying in your face.
3. Using heavy-duty office shredder
- For a consistent supply of cardboard, a long-term solution is investing in a machine willing to handle your work.
- If you choose a heavy-duty model, paper shredders will shred cardboard. Starting with a 12-sheet shredder, an 18-sheet or 24-sheet shredder would be preferable, especially if you aim to shred a pile of thick corrugated cardboard.
- The longer the shredder can operate, the more powerful it is.
- You must purchase a paper shredder that can handle the job. Not everyone will be able to work with cardboard.
- An inexpensive 6-sheet shredder might shred a few pieces of thin cardboard, but it will quickly overheat. This isn’t ideal if you have a large pile to go through.
- An 8-sheet will work a little better, but it won’t cut cardboard for long periods. As a result, a minimum of 12 sheets is recommended.
4. Use Micro-cut or Cross-cut Shredders
- In addition, you must choose between micro-cut and cross-cut shredders. Smaller shreds are produced by micro-cut shredders, which are often more expensive.
- Because micro-shredders lose most of their ‘fluffing’ capabilities, cross-cut shredders are preferred for most composters. Compost with larger shreds has more structure.
- Paper shredders have the drawback of asking you to cut or rip the cardboard into paper-sized sheets in order for it to fit through the shredder. An electric cutter or a box cutter, on the other hand, will come in helpful here!
5. Using a chipper shredder
- This shredder may appear overkill at first, but it all depends on how much cardboard you plan to put in your compost. Twigs, pine needles, branches, leaves, and other garden trash are easily shredded by chipper shredders.
- As chipper shredders can easily shred thick cardboard, therefore they are ideal for heavy-duty cardboard that won’t shred in a paper shredder.
- On the other hand, Softer cardboard is more likely to clog a chipper shredder, so be cautious.
- Ensure the cardboard is completely dry before feeding it into the machine and rolling it into a stick form.
- If you find any clogs, immediately stop the chipper and clear the blockage before continuing to shred.
- Chipper shredders aren’t inexpensive. They’re a good purchase for shredding a lot of branches or twigs.
- Ensure any metal parts, e.g., staples, are removed before shredding any cardboard. These have the potential to cause desolation with the blades.
6. Soak the cardboard in water and shred it by hand
- Large chunks of cardboard can be made much easier to shred by soaking them in water.
- It will be easier to shred them if you soak them for a long time.
- If you soak them long enough, they will crumble in your hands.
- For a wet climate, put the cardboard outdoors and let the rain take care of the rest. After a few showers, the cardboard will be completely wet, and you may begin peeling it apart.
- Alternatively, place the cardboard inside a large container filled with water. Make sure the cardboard is thoroughly submerged in water.
- Soak sturdy, corrugated cardboard at least overnight, or preferably 48 hours. Overnight should suffice for thinner cardboard.
- After the cardboard has been moistened, you can shred it using your hand or with the help of a tool.
- You may use a garden pitchfork to spin the water-cardboard mixture, which will result in the breaking up of the cardboard.
- Soaking cardboard makes removing colored coatings and adhesive a breeze.
- Cereal boxes, for example, have a thin ornamental coating on them. The majority of individuals do not compost them because of chemical concerns or waterproof. These coatings peel off readily after about 30 minutes of soaking, leaving plain cardboard behind.
Composting using cardboard boxes is a fun and gratifying experience. They’re high in carbon, and when shredded, they disintegrate quickly to help your compost pile.
Because it helps create air spaces, cardboard enhances compost structure. Because the composting microorganisms require oxygen to function, it is a crucial element.
Cardboard must be shredded. Large sheets will stay together in a massive moist lump if they aren’t shredded. It takes a long time to degrade in this state, negating the purpose.
And turning large portions of cards can be tough. Shredding the cardboard ensures that the pile has enough structure to allow air to move freely.
When compost contains too much nitrogen, it can emit a moist and nasty odor. Using cardboard can help alleviate this problem.
If you don’t have a lot of time or think that shredding cardboard with your hands would be too demanding, consider using a tool like a paper shredder or a box cutter.