Q.

mulch

Zone Dunmore, PA | rzubrickas added on April 23, 2018 | Answered

Is it ok to used shredded paper for mulch. I would like to use shredded paper, mail, newspaper, as a weed block. Would it be safe to eat the vegetables from the garden?

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MichiganDot
Answered on April 23, 2018

You will need to contact your newspaper to discover what type of ink is used. For a while, plant-based inks were common but some have started adding petroleum products in their ink. Some laser and toner products are OK but not all of them. Colored inks are not safe. Glossy and super smooth paper may have plasticizers. Another issue with mail is how the paper was bleached. Chlorine bleach is one process for whitening paper pulp. When it breaks down, it releases the toxin, dioxin. Plain cardboard and newsprint are often used in gardening. Anytime you use non-composted matter, you tie up a bit of nitrogen from the soil in the composting process. And since this material will break down, I don't think it will be an effective weed barrier unless you keep piling it on. Also, it may fly all over the neighborhood when it dries out. (Regular paper should be shredded to prevent matting which creates a barrier to air and water penetration. Lasagna gardening uses double layers of cardboard over the grass and piles soil and compost on top of it. https://permaculturenews.org/2016/03/14/is-newspaper-safe-for-your-garden/

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