Design and manufacture your own paper digester

As you know, paper has its own recycling process. Depending on the origin of the paper (folios, magazines, newspapers, cardboard, etc.) it has more or less difficulty. Accustomed to composting kitchen waste, vegetable waste and others, today we give a twist and teach you how to compost paper . Will it be simple? Let’s see it.


Hello everyone again, Eduardo as he is, “chinchinpin” in Chinese, launches a new paper digester worldwide.

The word digestor, alphabetically speaking, would not be the most correct since the dictionary says: (From the lat.  Digestorĭus , which is used to solve).

1.  m. Strong earthenware or metal vessel, closed with a screw, to separate the gelatin from the bones and the juice from the meat or other substance in the water bath.

However, technically it is appropriate because we use it for the denomination of containers in which we are going to carry out, through natural elements and processes, the fermentation or digestion of an element to turn it into another or others. See digestion of slurry or the same septic tanks of wastewater.

You already know that cellulose , composed of glucose, and hemicellulose, which in turn are composed of various polysaccharides (sugars to understand us) but in a branched chain, are not easily attacked in fermentations, the process is very slow up to several years, no it is completely achieved and, in the case of paper and cardboard, it becomes even pollutant, obstructive in water pipes and pipes, forming pastes that can only be attacked by mechanical processes such as pressurized water.

As now, due to circumstances, I have a little more time to think and act slowly, I have devised a process in which you should all collaborate, well, everyone who can and wants since I alone cannot cover this research and everyone’s reading interesting articles on this topic.

The idea is to obtain organic matter , not biodiesel, which has already been achieved at the cost of considerable electrical effort, an electrolysis to divide its components. My interest lies in making it natural, without consuming other energies. We are presented with a piece of paper: what do we do with the inks of the newspapers and propaganda? Do you think they can be “indigestible” for our helpers?

I think so, especially inks based on lead and other heavy metals that, even if they were digested or passed through their stomachs, would remain in the compost. First problem for someone who wants to solve it. The same will happen to us with the labels stuck with all kinds of glues, highly toxic or very poisonous, except for carpenter’s glue, therefore I will remove them.

As you go on talking and raising the process, things occur to you, I imagine that you too and that is where your help is needed, whether you imagine a problem or the resolution of one raised by another. Nothing happens here for telling the truth or nonsense, a good result can come out of all this and, as I said at the beginning and from what I know, it will be the first in the world.

We’ll see if someone refutes it and shows us one quickly, that I’m going to be the first and then I arrive in the caboose.

The white ant is not related to the ants that are hymenoptera, it is the well-known termite, termites and other things, but they are related to the Beatles , the well-known cockroaches. But we are not interested in these white ants themselves, but a series of bacteria that are in your intestine that is what digests cellulose and who keeps those bacteria alive in a garden?

The idea, then, is to use the termite and have it do the work for us thanks to its bacteria, does that seem logical to you? Will they produce enough compost? Will it be a failure? Will they eat the paper and leave no trace? As they say in soap operas, the resolution in next chapters.

I have reduced the photographs for those of you who use a medium other than the computer, it only decreases the quality and they cannot be enlarged like those of bees , but you will be able to move faster. In any case and as always, thanks to Gardenprue , I will send some of them at their highest quality, although this time what matters is the story.

Now let’s start with the photos, as always:

Here we have a pot in which I put cotton cloth to isolate the ants from the bottom, there is always water in it and, although they like humidity, not direct water.

Inside here is the nest, they are compost leaves , not finished for the reason that they slow it down, how is it possible? Well, we will see it in the next frame. I tell you all this in a very low voice, as does Richard Attenborough , our naturalist and Prince of Asturias laureate, when he is about to reveal a secret.

This will be our assistant, and as you can see the sheets are glued to each other, as if ironed, even on the left there is still a dry one. They had to spend the winter in shelter and now they have to work.

The yellow leaf has just fallen, like a fruit that you will see in other photos is from a Eugenia uniflora . I am under it, a beautiful tree in the Colombian jungle. From the fruit a kind of pacharán is obtained, a cazalla to understand each other. It is an edible myrtle despite what they say on the internet, especially some German magazines. My parrot Lucas and I would be dead years ago, from the previous millennium.

I feel that the photo is out of focus, it is not easy in the dark, the focus went to the two above, but I expose it for the interest of the article. He also didn’t want to bother them more than necessary.

Observe the dryness, these leaves went through a shredder and have been fermenting for 6 months and continue as the first day buried half a meter and after turning.

The queen, ready to find another nest with her wings, is on top of the dry leaf. But I’ve already moved it and I don’t think it’s going away.

I take a log where they have already started their work, the more comfortable they feel the better, I suppose.

The cloth, the nest of leaves and two logs:

A cardboard box. Normal cardboard boxes are not like that, but Lucas, gray with a red tail and his two buddies, Epi and Blas, Amazonian parrots are in charge of giving them a new use, I think I will make an exhibition like the painter elephant, but with boxes. If you turn it around, it is a door and at the bottom a window, like any house.

I have removed labels and stickers.

I have already explained the theory, it is necessary to know the arrangement of insects, if they prefer paper or cardboard, because I will end up removing the woods. I want to squeeze paper into a pvc tube, wet it and compress it, roll it up and give it to him. As I have known these insects for years, they do not attack or do not usually attack thin woods. Not only are they scared of light , I think dry air is also scary .

They must notice the thinness of the wall of what they are eating, I suppose that there is some change in the light due to the fineness of the wall, but also in the humidity of the wood , it must become drier and they do not rush so much. These two are the reasons why they are so difficult to detect and when you do it the ceiling came down, the doors stay in your hands because the hinges have nowhere to grip. Mischief.

Another idea is to use the cardboard rolling pin from the kitchen napkins and pressure fill it with them. The cardboard is sufficiently opaque to light and they can pass through the napkins inside.

Any ideas? suggestions? Any biologist or biochemist to sign up? Better an entomologist or would you advise me to call Richard Attenborough?

Organic matter may not be obtained to celebrate it, since most of the glucose will go into energy from the termites, but together we can reduce the amount of paper that is burned and that which goes to waste and if we reduce the kilos Trash the mayor should lower our bill, I say.

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