Shredded newspaper in compost?

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by kia796, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Newspaper (no coloured pages) apparently adds carbon to the pile. I don't have access to much of the other stuff people recommend for compost layers.

    Are the nasty chemicals used in pulp production offset at all by their use of vegetable-based inks?
     
  2. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    News paper and unbleached cardboard make great additions to compost or for use as mulch. It's been a number of years (10?) since newsprint has had anything harmful in it. Use as much as you want and it doesn't matter if they are colour pages.
     
  3. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    That's reassuring as newspapers are certainly plentiful.

    Coloured pages, too? My woodstove manufacturer even said "no coloured papers"!
     
  4. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    Really? That might have to do with how it burns rather then how it rots. Perhaps it smokes more?
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    The idea is that there still may be toxics in the colored pages. I don't know for sure.
     
  6. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    I did some reading around. THIS FAQ at Cornell Univ. Says that it is all fine. May pages do make an issue with colour pages, but many more don't and simply say that almost all newspapers use soy-oil based inks.
     
  7. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    If you have a shredder for your papers (old bills, whatever) all of that can go in your compost, too. Actually, you wouldn't have to shred, but it would probably be wise to do so anyway. A recent story in our local paper reported a stolen composter, contents and all. The only thing I don't use is glossy paper. That may be okay, too, but I haven't had time to check it out yet. That gets rid of a lot of recycling material.
     
  8. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Informative. Thanks, folks.
     
  9. chuckrkc

    chuckrkc Active Member

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    Any suggestions for a shredder, though? That seems to be the key. I had a farily good one, but it took a lot of time to keep up with the newspapers coming into the house AND it wore out the shredder sooner than I had hoped.

    I think the shredding is important to composting. Worms love the stuff.
     
  10. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Those office shredders do give up the ghost quickly, likely not intended for newspapers.

    Hand-tearing 4" strips is probably the best (but labour-intensive) method. Some folks even use unshredded newspapers to suppress garden weeds, but it would have to be kept wet to prevent lifting off in the wind. It's pretty ugly though.
     
  11. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    But it does give you something to read when there's nothing else to do in the garden ;-)
     
  12. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    ...and a whole new reason to pick up rocks on one's property!
     
  13. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    I don't put the newspaper through the shredder, just personal papers. I just tear them into strips about an inch or two wide. As vegetable scraps go in every day, I usually toss in one or two sections of the paper, depending on how much food waste I have added. In the summer, the whole paper goes in as I am constantly adding all sorts of things to the composters.
     
  14. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Man, some of those wormfarm websites and the "care" they advocate. You'd think they were raising children!

    Spent two hours yesterday wormhunting at my place. Trick was to find where they were in abundance. Finally found the motherlode on the east side of the house in an area I haven't gardened for years where we dump and spread grass clippings and small leaves to retard weed growth.

    My compost bin had no worm in sight in the top 6 inches...so in went 100 worms from my hunt. And shredded moist newspapers. It's so full of stuff I can hardly get the lid on..worms have a smorg ahead of them.

    Sounds like you've got that "layering" down to a fine art. Thanks.
     
  15. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    I am amazed at how much my garbage and recycling have been reduced as I find more things to put into the composters. I have now trained myself to stop and think about everything before discarding. I am sure I can still do better.
     
  16. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Me too. When I think how much I used to throw away into the garbage! Really though, the compostables would still compost at the dump with those spike-wheeled machines that compress the stuff. Nevertheless a good start, I think.

    It's the other stuff...paint cans and plastic and glass that is the issue.

    Almost as big as pharmaceuticals and heavy metals showing up in "reclaimed wastewater" from our communities.
     
  17. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    Fortunately we have a very good composting program. Plastic and glass (except for wine bottles and liquor bottles) go out in the blue boxes. Paint cans (if empty) can go, too. Pretty much everything can go now. Bottles from the liquor store now have a deposit on them and get returned to the beer store together with aluminum beer cans. Paint cans, left over building materials, and the like can be sent to the recycle store. Hopefully all of these products are being sent to the places they supposed to be going to.

    The biggest problem in Prince Edward County seems to be the number of people that seem to think recycling means throwing your garbage out the car window. When I first moved here 3+ years ago, that problem seemed to occur only in the summer, so blame the summer residents and tourists. However, it is now a year round problem. I find it totally incomprehensible that people want to look at garbage as they drive or walk along. I think it is a very sad commentary on modern society.
     
  18. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    It is indeed.

    Your post reminded me of my conversation last year with the recyling station operator. I had commented on how great it was that people had gotten on board...he smiled and said, sadly, "only the middle class"...
     
  19. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    Hadn't thought about it, but he is probably right.
     
  20. theftalanus

    theftalanus Active Member

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    when you put shredded newspaper in the compost make sure it is very wet so wet you could wring it out!
     
  21. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    I haven't ever wetted the paper first. Honestly, I have never found it necessary. However, if the compost tends to be dry, you definitely should do that. I guess I add so much vegetable matter, tea bags and coffee grounds that mine tends to stay fairly moist. It just depends on what you are putting into your composter. I am talking about my enclosed composter, not my open bins which definitely would need the paper wetted first if I put newspaper into those.
     
  22. andswan

    andswan Member

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    I have been wrapping all the kitchen compost in newspaper and hiding it under large plants such as the raspberries & rhubarb. The packages break down after about 10days and keep the soil moist. I do water regularly. It's a variation on the Ruth Stout method that I've been doing for years.
     
  23. sue1

    sue1 Active Member 10 Years

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    I made the mistake of trying to compost everything, and ended up with weeds all over my garden. Seems that my compost bins just didn't get hot enough to bake the weed/flower seeds. It's been a nightmare trying to get rid of all the weeds. I'll make sure that in the future NOTHING that looks remotely like a seed goes into my bins!
     
  24. dirtyboots

    dirtyboots Member

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    some modern printing process doesn't use any toxic material in the printing process. However, if you are going to use the compost to grow fruits and veggies that'll end up on your plate. I'm wouldn't take the risk of putting newspapers into your compost. The biggest worry is that generally coloured newspapers have heavy metal components in their ink.

    http://urbandirt.ca/what-to-avoid-in-your-city-composting-bin
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2011
  25. MThuck

    MThuck Member

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    Your saying most non-colored paper is fine?
     

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