El Borak at Men of the West has posted a good article on using shredded paper as mulch:
Most gardeners who use raised beds quickly fall in love with mulches. A thick layer of mulch on top of the soil preserves moisture, suppresses weed growth, and can even add nutrients to the soil all year long. A good mulch can reduce your garden “maintenance” time by half.
But what’s the best material to use for mulch? You can buy a plastic or cloth sheet mulch that suppresses everything but your plants. In recent years, wood chips have gained popularity. Chopped straw is effective but can be expensive. Shredded leaves are an old standby that never goes out of style. But I would like to recommend a mulch you’ve probably never heard of: shredded paper.
Most of us have too much junk mail, receive too many magazines… in short, we have a ton of paper around the house that we throw away or burn (or if you read David the Good, compost!). Rather than looking for ways to get rid of it, you can put it to good use while it rots naturally, adding carbon to the soil. It holds its form wonderfully. Worms love it. And perhaps best of all, my dog won’t dig in it so my young plants stay safe from that bone half-burying menace.
The steps to using it are few, the questions that arise are many, so let’s deal with the simple first…” (Click here to read the rest)
I used to bring home bags of shredded paper back when I worked in an office. It composts wonderfully if you mix it with coffee grounds, kitchen scraps, chicken manure or even urine. Or you can use it right as mulch. When I did that, I usually covered it with some regular wood chip mulch so it didn’t look too trashy.
Hey, it’s all carbon. Makes sense to use it.