ARS and U.S. Army Explore Using Waste Paper to Revitalize Soil

USDA Agricultural Research Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers teamed up to investigate the use of waste paper in revitalizing soil to revegetate damaged training grounds. U.S. Army classified papers must be pulverized to a fine consistency, which leaves the material unsuitable for recycling. This research focused on evaluating the use of pulverized or finely ground paper as a soil amendment to improve soil health and the ability to establish desirable native grasses on degraded Army training lands. Trials in Kentucky, Georgia, and Louisiana demonstrated that adding this type of paper waste to Army training grounds improves soil health, increases growth of native grasses, and provides a solution for disposing of classified paper waste. Plant cover was 45% higher on sites that received the recommended application rate of paper, compared to controls.