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Is paper actually biodegradable?

Biodegradable means that a material can be absorbed by the soil or the environment completely in the presence of oxygen.

Here are some facts on whether paper Is biodegradable or nonbiodegradable.

Is paper biodegradable?

Paper is biodegradable because it is made from wood, a naturally occurring material. Moreover, due to its structure, paper can be recycled more than five to six times before the paper fibers break down beyond the rescue point.

A normal paper can take about two to five weeks to decompose or degrade, whereas a single sheet of plastic would take a lot more than a hundred years to decompose.

So, paper is biodegradable because it is made from natural materials, but if you wish to speed up the process, you can use composting bins to break the material down.

Conditions that improve compostability of paper

While the paper will decompose itself if put in a composting pit, if you wish to quicken the process, you can create conducive conditions for decomposition. Without these conditions, it might be challenging to degrade the paper.

●     Rainfall

●     Heat

●     Humidity

●     Oxygen

You can even add worms to the composting pit for a much quicker process as they love to eat biodegradable substances.

Types of paper are biodegradable.

Most papers are biodegradable, but it all comes down to how long they take to decompose. So, here is a list of the different types of paper that are biodegradable and how long they take to decompose.

Printing paper

In most offices and other official work types, regular printing paper is used to print information and circulate it amongst people. No matter the quality of the paper, they are biodegradable and can take as long as two months to break down.

Cardboard boxes

A plethora of items you buy come in cardboard boxes, so there are always tens of such boxes lying around in your home. You can use them to store dry items for a long time. While you can recycle and reuse these boxes many times, but they often start to tear.

Cardboard boxes are also environmentally friendly; they are biodegradable and take only three months to decompose.


While it may be a thing of the past but many homes still receive newspapers. These are biodegradable, but surprisingly, such a thin paper can take up to six months to decompose due to the papers’ ink.

Toilet roll

It is probably the most widely used type of paper around the world, and it is biodegradable since it can be decomposed in thirty-six months.


The glossy thin paper of magazines is surely biodegradable, but it can take more than twelve to degrade properly because of the heavy ink used on the papers.

Paper bags

The paper you get from various stores and use to pack groceries is biodegradable, and it takes a paper bag more than two months to decompose.

So, once you have recycled the paper and used it multiple times, then you can decompose them in a pit. Follow all the necessary steps to recycle paper and use biodegradable and sustainable items.