anyone worried about ink from mail?

sunnydays_gardenerJuly 20, 2010

I've been shredding mail and composting it for about two years. I know I read long ago the ink should not be a problem in the compost but things change every year and not sure if I should be making a sep pile for edibles?

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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

Have you tried searching the forum? There are various threads on this topic. I don't have any big news to share that would be different from the vague information I had before. :-]

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 1:23PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

no change as far as i am aware, keep using it.

len

Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 2:34PM
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hoodat

The ink should be no problem. Even colored inks don't contain metals any more. The only thing I would advise is to keep slick paper out of the pile and stick to pulp paper. Slick paper breaks down very slowly.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 3:55PM
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jonas302(central mn 4)

Nope not worried at all

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 6:59PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

The most convincing answer I recall reading is that the unions got the harmful materials removed long ago because the printers were exposed to it all day every day. So the only question remaining is in what country was the material printed?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 12:01PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

It depends. is this mail a high gloss ad, or an old utility bill. Most all of the ads printed on high gloss paper still use metallic inks that are petrochemical based, easily seen because of the glossy over print (laquer) that is put over the colred ink to keep them from smearing. Most of the rest is soya based inks that are relatively innocuous.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 12:44PM
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lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CA

I'm unconvinced of the safety of the pigments in the inks.

The vehicle and binders Of the inks may contain soy products, but pigments are still made of suspect chemicals -- chrome, cadmium, et cetera.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 9:37AM
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harebelle(z6a NY)

"I'm unconvinced of the safety of the pigments in the inks.
The vehicle and binders Of the inks may contain soy products, but pigments are still made of suspect chemicals -- chrome, cadmium, et cetera."

Exactly. Most folks don't know how the inks get their colours, nor do they care-they've only focussed on the carriers which make ink stick to paper. Still, it's not substantial amounts, considering the total mass of a compost pile.

And the day that someone can prove to me that heavy metals and other poisons coming out of manufacturing plants and transport vehicles don't ever cross some magical line into my compost, then I'm not going to fret over what little bit of toxic waste goes in as junk mail. The microherd is a bunch of organisms, not solely for breaking down safe organics, but also to break down some toxic substances. Give the microherd a chance.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 8:16PM
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david52 Zone 6

Well, don't compost those sales receipts from the grocery store.

Here is a link that might be useful: BPA bonanza

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 10:04AM
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Nevermore44 - 6a

Wasn't there also an potential issue of the bleached paper leaching something?

I use to compost all the mail (no gloss) but since there is no clear answer, i just through it in the recycling.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 2:39PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

I think if it can be recycled into new paper, that is a better endpoint than composting. Understanding that some people have no other browns to turn to than paper. Fine white office paper especially, is made with oak fiber, and is more valuable as a recycled feedstock than other papers. I bring my shredded office paper to work and dump it into the bin when no one is looking, rather than mix it into the lower grade paper recycle at home.

Anyway, as to leaching, I do not know of any reliable information indicating a problem. There used to be a myth floating around about dioxin, but it is really a red herring.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 3:57PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

The non gloss paper does not hurt earth worms, so it should be safe for us.
The parts per million is greater for the worms: is the reason it seem safe for humans.
It does not hurt the little worms, so how can it harm a big human.
Are we over thinking this.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 4:12PM
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nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)

My order for use of paper regardless of whether or not it has any ink is reduce, reuse, and then recycle. If necessary, I would only use paper without ink in my compost. I'm not convinced the information we are given is reliable.

Also, are we overthinking this? I personally don't think so. There are creatures out there that eat all kinds of stuff that is non toxic to them, but would at the very least make humans extremely ill. What dogs eat off the ground comes to mind.........

Just my two cents =:D

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 10:21PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

That's the right way, reduce, reuse THEN recycle.

I see your point about safety but I'm not sure dogs eating garbage is a good analogy. One has to keep in mind that we don't eat the paper, nor the compost, nor the soil (except in tiny amounts). Anything in that tiny amount of ink has to find its way through all those dilution and transfer steps into the part of a plant that you actually eat, and then into your body, in quantities sufficient to cause a problem, in order to be an actual risk. For me it seems like a stretch.

Hard information on this is hard to come by. I use a weight of evidence approach. Based on the info I have been able to find, there is some uncertainty, but for me there are more pebbles on the safe side of the scale than on the other side. I am a spectator since I don't compost paper, but I think there are bigger fish to fry.

I do compost a lot of sawdust, and I keep the treated stuff out religiously. I *know* the levels of metals in that stuff and they are much much higher.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 10:12AM
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