Revitalizing Soil With Paper

This article comes to us from Sandra Avant and the Agricultural Research Service. While it's unlikely the average farmer is going to run out and do this tomorrow, it is an example of another way producers might work with their urban neighbors in the future. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is helping to arm the U.S. military with a solution to two major environmental problems: the disposal of paper waste and revegetating damaged training grounds. Under federal regulations, U.S. Army classified papers must be pulverized to a fine consistency, which leaves the material unsuitable for recycling. Continued disposal of this waste in landfills presents environmental concerns and is expensive. Secondly, army training areas become barren of vegetation from constant use by heavy equipment and foot soldiers. Soil erosion can occur, making it difficult to reestablish native grasses. ARS teamed up with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help address these issues. Their research focused on evaluating the use of pulverized or finely ground paper as a soil amendment to improve soil health and the ability to establish desirable native grasses on degraded Army training lands. Pulverized paper, which is like a very fine confetti, is a cheap, high-quality organic material that is useful as a soil amendment, said Henry "Allen" Torbert, research

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3 thoughts on “Revitalizing Soil With Paper

    1. Good question, Kirk. I added a link to the final report that describes how the paper was collected, pulverized and applied. They spread it and then disced it in. I also added a couple of pictures from that report showing vegetation regrowth. Thanks for helping me improve the piece.

  1. Good thermal mulch. High carbon content. Easily available thru recyclers and the Boy Scouts, church paper drives. Good bedding that costs a few pennies a pound. Free bedding if you can find a hard copy publisher of newspapers, magazines, or books. Excellent for the kids’ fish worm project. Loosens tight soil, stabilizes sandy soils. Helps drought-proof sandy soil. If close to a company that shreds documents, they deliver it, free of charge. The list goes on.

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