East Oregonian Lauds OSU Ask an Expert

Oregon State University’s Ask an Expert was recently touted by Skip Nichols, a columnist for the East Oregonian, in his column:

One question, two good answers

So, after telling readers about the “Ask an Expert” program provided by Oregon State University’s Extension Service, I decided to try it.

Naturally, I posed a question about the paper you’re holding in your hands right now.

“Can I put old newspapers in my compost pile?” I asked on Wednesday, Dec. 28. That was around noon.

Within a couple of hours, I had not one, but two answers. (To be honest, I recycle our newspapers, but I thought some paper might add to my expanding compost pile).

The first answer came from Clive Kaiser, a Umatilla County Extension agent for horticulture based in Milton-Freewater. Here’s what he told me:

“Yes, you can, but I would tear them up into strips and incorporate them into the trash. Newspaper is cellulose and it will be like adding straw to the mulch/compost. Consequently, it will only last 6-12 months but is a good source of organic matter. You should also add some nitrogen source to help speed up the composting process.”

Next, from Jane (no last name) in Spring Lake Park, came more good information:

“Additionally, ordinary black and white newspaper can be composted; however, the nitrogen content is low and paper will therefore slow down the rate of decomposition. If paper is composted, it should not be more than 10 percent of the total weight of the material in the compost pile. We recommend recycling newspaper through appropriate community recycling centers rather than through backyard composting.”

Now, that’s service.

As a reminder, you can ask a question in any of eight categories and answers are sent to you, usually within two days. Visit the Extension website at extension.oregonstate.edu or get straight to Ask an Expert online at http://bit.ly/OSUaae.

— Skip Nichols

GREAT Job Oregon State!