Cardboard Boxes As Worm Food

“Can worms eat the cardboard boxes that our foods come in i.e., cereal, spaghetti, etc. They seem to have a waxy type coating on them but I’m not sure what this is or if it is harmful to the worms. Thank for any info you can provide.” ~ Doris Duffy

Hi Doris,

Thanks for your question!

It is definitely quite confusing on which type of cardboards you can use.

You are correct on avoiding waxy layered cardboards as these cannot be eaten by worms, the layer takes a much longer time to degrade, and what may happen is that the worms will consume the underside paper/cardboard layer, leaving waxy residues in your wormery system.

In terms of whether it is harmful or not, it is not actually directly harmful to them. So you don’t need to be too worried if you accidentally threw some waxy cardboard into the system, it is only when you use waxy paper and card constantly in large quantities when it becomes a problem.

So just try your best to avoid it!

Glossy brochures and glossy magazine paper should also be avoided where possible.

Another material which is a definite no no, are the tetra pak material used for drink cartons. This material contains a waxy inner layer over an aluminum lining to help keep the contents in the packaging fresh. This inner layer is not degradable and cannot be thrown into a wormery system. So don’t be fooled by its outer cardboard material!

Examples of cardboard and paper material that is suitable for vermicomposting are things such as newspaper, phone directory, printed paper and normal shredded cardboard boxes.


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