Toilet paper rolls are great to add to your compost bin because they are made from plain paper material and will break down quickly. To help the rolls to break down as fast as possible, start by cutting the rolls in half and then in pieces, soak the rolls in water, spread them thinly and mix through.
Toilet paper rolls will be digested by soil bacteria and worms and will add carbon to your compost pile.
This article will explore how to compost toilet paper rolls in your home compost bin or pile. This includes my 5 easy tips to help them to break down as fast as possible.
Where to compost toilet paper rolls
Toilet paper rolls can be composted in a home compost bin, compost pile, compost cage or even your worm farm. All of these ways of composting are fine for the rolls which are essentially made from cardboard and will break down quickly. The cardboard will be digested by soil bacteria and worms to release the carbon into the compost or worm castings.
You can use this finished compost product to mix through your vegetable garden, flower beds or to top dress citrus trees.
5 Steps to compost toilet paper rolls
Here are my 5 easy steps to compost toilet paper in a home compost bin or pile. These steps will help the toilet paper rolls to break down quicker and help your compost to be ready fast.
1. Cut the rolls in half
To help toilet paper rolls to break down as fast as possible, start by cutting them in half. This will allow you to flatten the roll into a single piece of cardboard. After this, take some scissors and cut the roll into strips that are around ½ an inch wide.
This will add extra surface area for the worms and soil bacteria in your compost bin to reach and it will be composted quicker. Shredding this thicker cardboard is essential otherwise it will take months for a roll to break down.
2. Soak the rolls in water
The next step to help toilet paper rolls to break down as fast as possible is to soak them in water. This will hydrate the cardboard and help the particles to start to come apart. This will also help to add extra moisture to your compost heap and support a good population of bacteria.
The soaked rolls and the water can be added to your compost pile.
Note: This step is not essential but will speed up the breakdown process. You can simply add the dry, shredded toilet rolls to your pile and they will still break down.
3. Spread the rolls thinly
The next step is to make sure that the toilet paper rolls are spread thinly over your compost pile. Separating the pieces and making sure they are not in a huge clump will make it easier to mix through the pile in the next step.
4. Mix them through
The next step is to take a garden fork and mix the toilet paper roll pieces through your compost pile. This will help them to make contact with other compost materials and help the soil bacteria and worms to break to reach them and break them down.
You can use a compost stirrer if you like to reach down to the deeper parts of the soil and to stir it thoroughly. I like to use a spade or fork and just mix it through the top foot of compost.
5. Start with small amounts
It is important to start to add toilet paper rolls in small amounts. If you have a small compost pile or bin, begin with 3-4 toilet paper rolls and wait for them to be mostly broken down. After this you can add more.
Remember that carboard including toilet paper rolls are considered a brown material so need to balanced out with some green material. You could add a small amount of grass clippings, coffee grounds or food scraps. Aim for a ratio of 1:3 green to brown materials in your worm farm.
Adding toilet paper rolls to your compost is a great way to add extra brown materials, carbon and to save the rolls from ending up in landfill. They will be broken down by soil bacteria and the finished compost will add lots of organic matter to your soil.
Are white toilet paper rolls compostable?
White toilet paper rolls are compostable the same way that brown rolls are. White toilet paper rolls have been bleached when the cardboard was processed removing the brown color. These rolls will not harm your compost, soil or worms so you can still use them. It is important to cut them into small pieces to help them to break down fast.
How long does it take for toilet paper rolls to decompose?
Toilet paper rolls that are cut up into small pieces, soaked in water and mixed through a healthy compost will take anywhere from 1-5 months to fully break down. How fast they break down depends on the weather, moisture and soil bacteria populations in your compost bin.
Toilet paper rolls will decompose fastest in warm weather where the compost is moist but not wet and has a range of ingredients including other brown materials such as straw, sugar cane mulch and fall leaves.
How to compost toilet paper rolls | Summary
Toilet paper rolls can be composted at home in a compost bin, pile or cage that is well balanced with a mix of green and brown materials. Cardboard is a brown material so can make up one part of the mix.
Make sure you mix a range of brown materials together in your compost to add a diversity of food for the soil bacteria to feed on. This will help your toilet paper rolls and compost break down fast.
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.