We recycle and compost as much as possible. Living out in the country there isn’t curbside recycling, but I can take our recycling into the nearest town and drop it off when I need to go there, usually once a month. You might wonder what this has to do with your fantasy world building. Bear with me.

Between junk mail, printing off manuscripts to edit on paper, as well as general scratch paper/college homework use, we generate a fair amount of paper waste. When my mom was alive, she received a ton of catalogs and nonprofits asking her to donate, so the “junk mail” volume was much higher. What does this have to do with the homestead? Well, you could recycle paper with your paper recycling, but that’s just something else to store. Instead, I use it for chicken bedding.

How does it work? I shred the address page of catalogs (the rest is recycled), any “junk” mail, and greeting cards once I’m done enjoying them. Staples are removed before shredding. Then, I dump my shredder in the clear bags UPS puts on my packages, and when those bags are full, I dump them in a large trash can. By the time I get the trash can full, it’s time to clean the chicken coop.

Old bedding is put aside to compost and “age” before spreading it on my gardens. I mix the paper bedding roughly 50/50 with standard pine shavings. All pine shavings are used in the nest boxes, because eggs are damp when they’re laid and the paper sticks to them.

This is more absorbent than shavings alone, helps me recycle paper here on the homestead and cuts down on bedding costs.

Am I concerned about the chemicals in the paper? A little, but it’s mixed with bedding, and it is composted. Companies are moving toward soy-based ink as well, which also helps.

If you’d like to see how this is done on a commercial scale, here’s an article I found: https://www.farmprogress.com/story-company-produces-environmentally-safe-livestock-bedding-9-148886