Can You Compost Construction Paper? A Comprehensive Guide

Construction paper is a popular material used in various arts and crafts projects. It is widely used by children, students, and artists for its versatility and vibrant colors.

However, when it comes to disposing of construction paper, many people wonder if it can be composted. In this article, we will explore whether construction paper can be composted and provide you with valuable insights on the composting process, advantages, limitations, and tips for composting construction paper.

What is Construction Paper?

Construction paper is a type of paper made from a blend of wood pulp and recycled materials. It is commonly used for creative projects, such as making cards, collages, and decorations. Construction paper is known for its durability and ability to hold various art mediums, including crayons, markers, and paints. It is available in a wide range of colors, making it appealing for artistic endeavors.

Can Construction Paper be Composted?

Yes, construction paper can be composted. Since it is made primarily from organic materials like wood pulp, it can break down in a compost pile or bin over time. However, there are a few factors to consider before composting construction paper.

Composting Process

To compost construction paper effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the construction paper: Ensure that the construction paper is free from any non-organic materials such as tape, glue, or plastic coatings. These non-organic components can hinder the decomposition process and contaminate the compost. Tear the construction paper into small pieces or shred it to facilitate quicker decomposition.
  2. Create a compost pile or bin: Establish a compost pile or use a compost bin in your backyard. Layer the shredded construction paper with other compostable materials, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, yard waste, and coffee grounds. This layering technique helps maintain a balanced carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, which is essential for successful composting.
  3. Turn and aerate the compost: Regularly turn or aerate the compost pile to provide oxygen and aid in the decomposition process. This helps accelerate the breakdown of organic matter, including the construction paper.
  4. Monitor moisture levels: Ensure that the compost pile maintains adequate moisture. The construction paper should be damp, similar to a wrung-out sponge. Add water if the compost pile becomes too dry or cover it during heavy rain to prevent excessive moisture.
  5. Patience and time: Composting is a natural process that requires time. Depending on various factors such as temperature, moisture, and the size of the construction paper pieces, it can take several months to a year for the paper to fully decompose. Regularly check the compost pile’s temperature and adjust the conditions as needed.

Advantages of Composting Construction Paper

Composting construction paper offers several advantages:

Waste reductionComposting construction paper helps divert paper waste from landfills, reducing the environmental impact.
Nutrient-rich soilComposting construction paper contributes to the creation of nutrient-rich soil. This natural fertilizer enriches the soil, improving its fertility.
Sustainable practiceComposting construction paper promotes recycling and waste reduction, aligning with eco-friendly principles and a circular approach to resources.
  1. Waste reduction: Composting construction paper plays a crucial role in diverting paper waste from ending up in landfills. By composting instead of discarding, you actively contribute to reducing the environmental impact associated with excessive waste accumulation.
  2. Nutrient-rich soil: Construction paper, when composted, breaks down into organic matter that enriches the soil with essential nutrients. The resulting compost is a valuable natural fertilizer that enhances soil fertility, promotes healthy plant growth, and improves overall soil structure.
  3. Sustainable practice: Composting construction paper aligns with sustainable practices and eco-friendly principles. It encourages the reuse and recycling of materials, reducing the demand for virgin resources. By adopting composting as a routine, you actively participate in waste reduction and support a more circular approach to resource utilization.

Composting construction paper not only minimizes waste but also contributes to the creation of healthier soil and a more sustainable environment. By embracing composting practices, you can play a part in building a greener future.

Limitations and Considerations

While construction paper can be composted, there are a few limitations and considerations to keep in mind:

  • Coatings and treatments: Construction paper with glossy or metallic finishes should not be composted, as these coatings are often non-biodegradable and can introduce harmful substances into the soil. Similarly, construction paper treated with flame retardants or chemicals should be avoided in composting.
  • Check local regulations: If you have access to a commercial composting facility, it is recommended to check their guidelines regarding the compostability of construction paper. Some facilities may not accept certain types of paper or have specific requirements for compostable materials. Understanding the regulations and guidelines in your local area ensures responsible composting practices.

Tips for Composting Construction Paper

Here are some tips to enhance your composting process:

  • Shred or tear the paper: Shredding or tearing the construction paper into smaller pieces increases the surface area, aiding in faster decomposition.
  • Mix with other compostable materials: Combine the shredded construction paper with other compostable materials such as kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and leaves. This helps create a balanced and diverse compost pile.
  • Layering technique: Alternate layers of construction paper with other organic materials in the compost pile to ensure a proper carbon-to-nitrogen ratio.
  • Monitor and adjust: Regularly monitor the moisture levels and temperature of the compost pile. Adjust the conditions as needed to optimize decomposition.
  • Patience and consistency: Composting construction paper takes time, so be patient and consistent with your composting efforts. Regularly turn the pile and maintain the right balance of materials.


In conclusion, construction paper can be composted successfully. By following proper composting practices, you can divert paper waste from landfills and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Remember to remove any non-organic components, shred the paper, and maintain a balanced compost pile. Composting construction paper is a sustainable choice that promotes waste reduction and environmental conservation.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Can I compost construction paper with crayon marks on it?
    • Yes, you can compost construction paper with crayon marks on it. The crayon marks are generally made from non-toxic materials and will break down during the composting process.
  2. Can I use compost made from construction paper in potted plants?
    • Yes, compost made from construction paper can be used in potted plants. It enriches the soil with nutrients and improves its structure.
  3. What should I do if my compost pile smells bad?
    • If your compost pile has a foul odor, it may be too wet or lacks sufficient airflow. Add dry materials like leaves or wood chips, and turn the pile to increase aeration.
  4. Can I compost construction paper with glitter on it?
    • It is best to avoid composting construction paper with glitter on it. Glitter is often made from microplastics, which do not break down and can contaminate the soil.
  5. How long does it take for construction paper to compost?
    • The time it takes for construction paper to compost can vary depending on factors such as temperature, moisture, and paper size. It can take several months to a year for the paper to fully decompose.