Absolutely! Much fatser than most other products, it’s completely biodegradable. Paper decomposes in about a month. To put that into perspective, a banana peel takes 3 -4 weeks, cardboard: 2 months, steel can: 50 years, soda can: 200 – 500 years, plastic bag: up to 1,000 years, glassL 1-2 million years, plastic bottle: 1 million years, and styrofoam never decomposes!
The highest quality, pH neutral archival paper stored under archival conditions will last for hundreds of years, but it is not permanent in the sense that, say a glass jar is, which may change little over thousands of years.
Almost every other kind of paper, in most other conditions will start to rot much more quickly. The reason is that most paper is made out of wood, which is a natural product that recycles back into nature. Even wood that has been cut and dried eventually starts very slowly to break down. Paper made of cotton is also natural, but tends to break down more slowly than common wood paper. One reason newsprint is cheap is that little processing has been done to remove the self-destructive wood chemicals. Within a few years, newsprint exposed to the air will be well on its way to going back to nature.
Water, mildew, fungi, and insects are the bane of all paper, and paper and books are more likely to be ruined by those than anything. Wet paper needs to be dried immediately, because it can start a decay process that spreads to other paper. Until very recently, librarians needed to take a class on conservation to get their degree, but in the digital age, that requirement was dropped, and now deep understanding of book conservation is becoming uncommon.
Yes paper has been known to rot. It ususally takes about 2 or 3 months for the paper to start rotting. Paper is biodegradable and it decomposes within a month. Paper can have significant clues to indicate rotting within 2-3 weeks. These signs can be hard to see at times and can take more weeks for it to be noticed.
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