This question has stumped avid composters for years. The blue bin, or the green bin? Making sure your compost has the proper mix of green to brown ratio may make your decision easier. If you're one of these people I’ve shared my thoughts on some common paper products and if they should be composted or recycled.
Office Paper - Recycle!
Office paper tends to have high-quality fibers that can be used multiple times throughout the recycling process. If you're looking to maximize your environmental impact, recycling will give you the best results. Composting office paper will also require you to shred it beforehand as it takes a long time to break down otherwise.
Newspaper - Compost!
Newspapers are commonly made up of recycled content already. With lower quality fibers it is better served in compost as it will break down easier and doesn’t serve much value if recycled.
Cardboard - Recycle!
In the recycling economy cardboard is a very valuable resource. Because of that, to maximize its value it's best to turn it into something new rather than use it as a soil amendment.
Magazines - Recycle!
The synthetic material magazine companies use to create a glossy cover that attracts your attention makes it unsuitable for your compost. However, your recycling bin will gladly take your Maclean's magazine.
Paper Cartons - Recycle!
Similar to office paper, paper cartons are usually made of high-quality fibers that can be recycled multiple times before it wears down. For that reason alone it is better to recycle your paper cartons so they can be reused instead of throwing them into your compost bin.
Paper Egg Carton - Compost!
You can probably tell from looking at egg cartons, but their fibers are low quality and don’t carry much value when recycled again. This is why we prefer to put our paper egg cartons in the compost.
Hopefully, next time you encounter yourself questioning which bin to throw your paper products into, you will keep these tips in mind.