Can I compost my paper shopping bags?
Easy Answer: Yes.
I know. We've talked a lot about shopping bags recently. But, before we move on, my editor wanted to know if he could compost his paper shopping bags. He wondered if that would be a reason to pick paper instead of plastic?
Composting paper shopping bags should be just fine, according to the EPA. A spokeswoman for the agency told me that ink on the bags isn't normally a concern: "Most inks, such as those used in newspapers, are now soy-based inks. However, if you are not certain about the type of ink on your paper and you are going to be using a large quantity of paper for composting, it is probably wise to use paper with the least amount of ink as possible."
There are a few considerations to keep in mind when composting paper:
1) Shred the paper so it will decompose more quickly
2) Remember that carbon needs nitrogen to decompose:"think four parts carbon to one part nitrogen. Good sources of nitrogen are green grass trimmings, plant trimmings, and fruit and vegetable scraps."
For more: check out the EPA's guide to composting.
Photo credit: Flickr account of urbanwild.