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copy paper in compost? rooftop water use?

Posted by bibbus 7b (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 26, 14 at 10:51

I use a lot of printer and copy paper at work. Last year I shredded bags of it and used it in my compost. But I realized later it might have chemicals in it. I've read that ink is now mostly vegetal but I wonder if its true. Have you seen any scientific evidence on this issue?

Another thing I've seen on gardening websites is promoting the use of rain barrels connected to downspouts. Reportedly the water is better than tap water. But I am also concerned about whats in the roofing material. I've seen a lot written but not any reference to research done. I googled it and haven't come up with any conclusive evidence. Have you seen any?


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RE: copy paper in compost? rooftop water use?

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 26, 14 at 20:47

Haven't seen any scientific evidence on the soy-based inks question for many years. It was pretty well established and documented by the industry a decade or so ago.

FAIK it is pretty much accepted as a given that the inks (other than metallics) aren't an issue although the question still pops up on the Composting forum here from new composters now and then. Usual advice is do what you feel comfortable with and to keep in mind the natural diluting effects of the composting process itself..

As for the rain barrels question, I would think that would depend on what the roof is made off. Sand comes off asphalt shingles, dust and dirt rolls off my metal roof, same with wood shingles. But they all settle into sediment at the bottom of the barrel and none of them pose a threat to garden crops.

But then I'm old enough to recall when rain water was used for many things including drinking and preferred over well or city water.

Lots of things to worry about but neither of these issues should rank very high on the list IMO. :)

Dave


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RE: copy paper in compost? rooftop water use?

Thank you! I do wonder sometimes if I take things too far and miss out on benefits because of the fear mongering out there. Thanks for your response!


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RE: copy paper in compost? rooftop water use?

Copy machines and almost all work printers do not use ink at all. No soy. Toner is plastic powder melted onto paper. Taking a toner cartridge and sprinkling it all over your garden would understandably make a lot of people on the Organic Gardening forum a little nervous, but the quantities on scrap paper seem to be close to trivial, and it probably would come down only to where one draws one's personal line in the dirt (so to speak).

Fighting chemicals in one's food is not fear mongering. It's setting attainable limits to try to not go past, and everyone has different limits. I'd use paper of any sort, and I'm close to paranoid as it is.

edit: can't spell to save my life...

This post was edited by cold_weather_is_evil on Sat, Apr 26, 14 at 22:42


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RE: copy paper in compost? rooftop water use?

The inks used in computer printers do not use soya based inks, commercial printers (newspapers) often do although most of the ad inserts in those newspaper still use petroleum based metallic inks and lacquers.
The laser and ink jet printers used by computers depend on an electric charge to print meaning the inks need to have some metallic base.

Saving the water that pours from your roof could be a good idea, providing you are not in an area of the United States that prohibits that practice. Some states have laws that restrict your ability to prevent natural water flow from reaching your neighbor.l

Here is a link that might be useful: capturing rain water

This post was edited by kimmsr on Sun, Apr 27, 14 at 6:37


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RE: copy paper in compost? rooftop water use?

cold_weather_is_evil, You are totally right. I wasn't referring to this website as fear mongering. It is SUCH a tremendous help to me in my gardening. I DON'T want chemicals in my food which is why I spend a tremendous amount of time and effort growing my own. kimmsr has given me so much help and I truly appreciate it. It does seem like there is conflicting information from even organic sources. I do feel paranoid, LOL, and don't want to feel that way but maybe it is helpful at times!


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RE: copy paper in compost? rooftop water use?

The laser and ink jet printers used by computers depend on an electric charge to print meaning the inks need to have some metallic base.

No, they don't. You can put a static charge on almost anything. Like ballons.

Most toners use iron oxide, some use a polymer that can be electrostatically charged.


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RE: copy paper in compost? rooftop water use?

"Fighting chemicals in one's food is not fear mongering."

If the chemicals aren't dangerous, it's exactly that. Everything is made of chemicals.

Not wanting chemicals in your food is a fool's errand. Your food IS chemicals.


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RE: copy paper in compost? rooftop water use?

I did a lot of research on the roof rainwater thing as I bought a rain barrel this year for use on my veggie garden. But, after installing it and bragging to my brother about it, things began to change. My brother is a Landscape Architect grad from UGA, and he explained to me that they were not allowed to use the UGA rain barrels on edibles for many reasons.
1st.) Shingle company's have a disclaimer out there that says you should not use it because there is a possibility of hydro-carbons contaminating the water. (probably more of CYA than anything.)
2.) your roof accumulates a lot of pollution and animal feces, so the water may be contaminated with harmful bacteria. A "first flush" system can fix this issue.
3.) The water can become stagnant and contaminated with bacteria and algaes as it cooks in the hot sun.
4.) waters not potable, and some say you should only water your edibles with potable water.

So, I naturally research this pretty intensively and have found that there is really no data on whether or not the soil would transfer said contaminants to they veggies themselves. And if it does, what amounts would be present. So basically, this is your judgement. People have been using their barrels for years without issues, but if you want to be on the safe side, only use the water for non edibles. I will use mine for early watering when the plants are just seedlings and such, but I stop using it weeks before harvest time. If you want to be on the safe side, don't use it on edibles.


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RE: copy paper in compost? rooftop water use?

Also, wood shingles have an algecide on them that is toxic and some roofs have some sort of a zinc plating on them that is also toxic, so if you have a metal roof or wood roof, I would not use that water no matter what. My brother refers to run off water as "gray" water. A lot of info is out there about that.


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