Cereal boxes are great for worm farm bedding. Check that the cereal box does not have a plastic coating. If you can tear the cardboard and don’t see any plastic then it is fine to use as bedding. It is best to combine strips of cereal box carboard with other brown materials like hay, straw and sugar cane mulch to give the worms some variety to eat.
Cardboard from cereal boxes on their own can become dry and offer very little in the way of nutrition. Use them mixed together with fall leaves for a great start to your worm farm, a good layer to cover food scraps or as bedding for a new layer on your worm tower.
How to add cereal boxes to worm farms
Here are my tips for adding cereal boxes to your worm farm. These tips will help to maintain the moisture balance, keep the worms happy and recycle your finished cereal boxes.
1. Tear the box to see if it has a plastic coating
The first step is to make sure that the cereal box does not have a clear plastic coating. The best way to test for this is to try to tear the cardboard. If it is difficult to tear or if you see plastic stretching over the tear edge then it has a plastic coating. You can peel this off if you have time or avoid putting this type of cereal box in your compost bin.
Cereal boxes that tear easily and are brown or white inside are great for worm farms. Worms will digest the ink and clay coating on the cereal cardboard without plastic.
2. Shred or chop the cereal boxes into pieces
The next step is to shred or chop the cereal box into small pieces. I like to use kitchen scissors to cut the cardboard into pieces. I start with cutting it into strips then will layer 3-4 pieces together and cut it into squares. You can put the thin cardboard through a shredder if you have one or take the time to tear it up.
Chopping the cereal boxes into pieces helps the worms to reach more of the surface of the box and break it down fast. Soil bacteria will move in to break down the cardboard and the worms will eat them both. Cereal boxes are a great source of carbon and a great way to add bulk to your worm castings.
3. Mix cut up cereal boxes together with other brown materials
Mixing cereal boxes together with other brown materials like straw, hay, shredded newspaper and fall leaves makes the perfect base for your worms. They will digest all of this organic material, mixing it together and forming worm castings.
Adding a variety of carbon sources helps to keep the worms happy and gives them plenty to feed on. Shredded carboard and newspaper on their own can dry out and the worms will get sick of eating it.
4. Sprinkle cereal box pieces over the top of food scraps
Another way to put cereal boxes into your worm farm is sprinkle cut up pieces over the top. They are the perfect dry material to absorb the extra moisture from the food scraps and keep the worm farm in balance.
Too much wet food scraps can attract flies so absorb the water and cover the scraps with cereal box pieces. I find that these are a great option when I have run out of dry mulch to add.
5. Soak the cereal boxes to add more moisture
Another way to add cereal boxes to your worm farm is to cut it into pieces and soak it in water. This will help to hydrate the cardboard and help the worms to break it down quicker. If you have few food scraps in your worm farm and it is becoming dry, soaked cardboard is a great way to add back moisture and stop it drying out further.
Another option is to mix the cardboard with foods scraps to hydrate it before putting it in the worm farm. Doing this will help everything to break down faster.
6. Save your cereal boxes for later
If you go through a lot of cereal like our house then it is a good idea to cut it up and keep it aside. I like to add cardboard in small amounts often so rather than adding a whole box of cut up pieces, you can add them gradually. Each time you add food scraps to your worm bin, add a few cardboard pieces.
Add small amounts of cardboard at a time and wait for it to be broken down before adding more. Mixing shredded cardboard and newspaper together makes a great base for your new worm farm or a good top up feed.
Cereal Boxes for Worm Farm Bedding | Summary
Cereal boxes make great worm farm bedding as long as they don’t have a plastic coating. Tear the cardboard to make sure that it is plastic free and then shred it into pieces to add to your worm farm. Worms are amazing composters and will break down any organic material including cardboard.
Composting worms eat fast in spring and summer so you can ramp up the amount of cardboard you add. I always like to keep a bag of fall leaves on hand to add at the same time to give my worms some variety to feed on. Add extra moisture by adding fruit and vegetables scraps ro soaking the cardboard before adding it to your worm farm.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.