How long does it take for paper to decompose in the soil?

How long does it take for paper to decompose in the soil?

04/08/2022 Information 0

Paper typically takes 2 to 6 weeks to break down in a landfill. Today, paper makes up the majority of the garbage in landfills (paper makes up for around 25 percent of landfill waste and around 33 percent of municipal waste).

The rate at which paper decomposes is influenced by various environmental factors. For instance, paper buried in an anaerobic landfill with little to no oxygen will disintegrate much more slowly than paper in a compost heap exposed to air (and churned frequently). This explains why old newspapers can be discovered at the bottom of landfills.

By recycling paper, you may lessen the amount of virgin materials and energy that would otherwise be used to produce non-recycled paper, as well as landfill space. Measuring the pace at which paper decomposes is a complicated task that is influenced by numerous variables.

Some of these include:

  • Climate variables (heat, rain, sunlight, etc.)
  • the existence of bugs, mites, worms, or other insects that consume paper
  • lack of or exposure to oxygen
  • Paper types (e.g. newspaper, paper bags, conventional art paper)


In case you were wondering, paper contains a lot of starch, making it a desirable food source for various bugs and worms. Termites, cockroaches, booklice, and bookworms are a few of these. The amount of worms and bugs in a location will determine how quickly paper decomposes there.

How long does paper take to break down in compost or soil?

Paper typically takes 4 to 6 weeks to decompose in soil.

Of course, the elements mentioned above, including insect activity, turning frequency, and oxygen exposure, all affect how quickly paper decomposes in soil.

Paper can be composted or recycled (in soil).

Finding the ideal answer for your paper waste will depend on a number of variables.

For instance, composting should be used in place of throwing away paper or cardboard that is no longer clean enough to be recycled (fast food, oil, etc.).

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