Have you ever thought about using newspaper or cardboard for mulch? You can use natural (undyed or unwaxed) cardboard for sheet mulch. This can be done either by itself or with other types of organic materials such as wood chips for holding it down. Just rip off the tape and shipping labels. Put those moving or delivery boxes to really good use. You also can use burlap or a few newspaper layers.
Pros of Using Newspaper or Cardboard for Mulch
- They’re both easy to access
- Repurposing cardboard is a great way you can upcycle or recycle.
- It’s very effective to hold in the moisture to your soil and smother weeds. It’s ideal for large and open spaces, around trees, in pathways, or under your newly created raised beds.
- Sacks made of burlap, like coffee sacks or even burlap rolls also make wonderful sheet mulch that lasts a long time. Cardboard is easily accessible, inexpensive, or even free. Adding some newspaper below the burlap also will give it more protection.
- Natural products made of paper release nutrients as they decompose. Although it will take longer to decompose when compared to paper, it also can get rolled up so you can reuse it as needed.
- Like other organic types of mulch, natural paper products decompose and release nutrients to the soil over time. Burlap will take longer to decompose than paper but can also be rolled up and reused as needed.
Cons of Using Newspaper or Cardboard for Mulch
- Cardboard’s often too thick, awkward, and big to use among your full flower or vegetable beds, except the pathway areas.
- Avoid the colorful, shiny inserts of newspapers. They’re not going to easily degrade. They also might contain some toxic dyes.
- Sometimes burlap contains natural and synthetic fibers to create more durability. Look for burlap that is completely biodegradable.