Can shredded newspaper go in the compost heap?

Q.

Hi, is it OK to put shredded paper in your compost heap? I have been told that the ink is bad for plants. Thanks.

Ann Kidd

A.

Hi Ann, shredded newspaper can be put in to compost heaps. In years gone by newspaper ink was made from heavy metals such as lead and cadmium, for this reason people were cautious of adding printed paper to the compost heap. Most newspaper inks today are vegetable oil (soybean) and water based. The other concern was that the pulp that paper is made from was bleached using chlorine, now most paper is bleached with hydrogen peroxide. It is personal preference as to whether you use newspaper in your compost heap or not, talk to your local newspaper to see what inks they use if you are concerned. Lianne, Tui Team.

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