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Q.Can You Safely Recycle Colored Advertising Inserts (non-glossy, Same Consistency As Newspaper) In Your Compost Bin?

Zone Los Angeles County | Anonymous added on October 14, 2022 | Answered

I just started my compost bin today and I was following a couple of guides saying to add shredded newspaper to your composting bin as a carbon source along with your food scraps. I do not get a newspaper, so I used the non-glossy advertising inserts (have newspaper consistency) I get in the mail all the time. After I did that, I ran across a couple of articles that said you should not use advertising inserts (especially colored ones) in compost because it could be using petroleum-based ink and could also contain metals. However, some of these were older articles (from 2000s) and I found others that say its alright (more recent ones). I really do not want to pull all the worms I just put in and restart the composting process if I do not have to. Any guidance would be nice. Like an easy way to know the difference between soy based ink and petroleum based ink? I moistened the paper strips and my hands still smell like the newspaper after washing them with soap and water. Let me know. Thanks!

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on October 26, 2022

All the inks used today are nontoxic so you can use all your newspaper (except the glossy ads) as long as they are shredded. The glossy ads use clay to make them shiny.


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