How much paper do I need to add with food waste?

5 February 2014  |  HOTBIN Composting

Shredded office paper and or corrugated cardboard need to be added in with all wet waste not just food waste.

As a general guideline we recommend 30g of dry paper per 1kg of wet waste. This is one part shredded paper for every two parts of food waste. See the table below:

  Full food waste container (by volume in litres)
Container Kitchen measuring jug Small plastic kitchen waste caddy Medium kitchen waste caddy Full carrier bag, plastic bucket or large food caddy
Approximate capacity 2 litres 5 litres 9 litres 18 litres
Measure of shredded paper 1 litre 2.5 litres 4.5 litres 9 litres
Add this many handfuls of paper per full container 1 2-3 4 8
Ratio  by volume For every full container of food waste, add half the same container of shredded paper (the volume ratio is 2:1 food waste: shredded paper).
  • To fix the top layer of waste, you may need ½ a carrier bag of paper/cardboard pieces (approximately 360g).
  • To re-balance a ¾ full bin, you may need 2 full carrier bags (1.4Kg) of paper.

Do I need to add bulking agent if using paper?

Yes, ALWAYS add bulking agent with wet waste. The bulking agent will form a supportive structure that maintains airflow. Find out how much bulking agent you need here.


In hot composting, paper fixes wetness, bulking agent helps aeration. You cannot balance ‘wet waste’ by adding bulking agent, nor can you fix ‘poor aeration’ by adding paper. You need to check how much bulking agent has been added.

You may be able to use card instead of/ as well as paper however please do not pre-soak it.

Getting the ratios right

Add bulking agent and paper to wet waste