Can you use computer paper as bedding material for worm farms?

by Larry
(Stow township, New Jersey)

I have seen posts by others that you can't use computer paper as bedding material because it is too acidic. Is this true? I have a lot of computer printouts that I throw away and would like to use in a worm farm.


Your opinion is highly respected and appreciated.

Larry


Answer:

Hello Larry

thank you for raising an important issue. Paper can actually be a great bedding and food source for worms and therefore be recycled in worm farms as long as it is not acidic.

Paper produced from wood-based pulp becomes brittle and turns brownish yellow quickly if its lignin has not been removed.

Paper produced in the 19th century and the early 20th century was mostly produced from acidic wood pulp.

Since the middle of the 20th century measures have been taken to improve the quality of produced paper. Once of these steps is that many Paper mills are treating the acidic wood pulp with calcium and bicarbonate to remove or neutralize the natural acidity of the pulp.

Acid free paper is durable (hundreds of years) and most of the paper produced these days is indeed acid free.

Nevertheless there is still acidic paper around and there are 2 ways for you to find out if the computer paper you want to recycle with earthworms is acid free or not.

Firstly you can contact the supplier or producer of the brand of paper you are using to find out or secondly you can make a small experiment with 2 or 3 worms which you can place in a tub with some of your wet computer paper. If your worms are diving in for cover and are still happily munching on your paper a few days after you started your experiment the paper will be safe to be recycled as worm bedding and worm food.

If you want to find out more about acid free paper have a look at the following link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid-free_paper


I hope this helped you a little. Keep on recycling with earthworms Larry.

Kind regards

Stephan Kloppert
Author of
"How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget"

Editor
www.worm-composting-help.com

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