>We use a lot of cardboard for sheet composting so I just posted this very
>question to the compost listserv and the answer was mixed. Some were
>opposed to using cardboard in compost because of --as of yet
>unverified--information about heavy metals in the inks. Others were more
>moderate in their opinions citing the fact that Rodale and others have used
>cardboard in their compost without deleterious effect. Basically, the jury is
>still out pending further science (which would be great if anyone would like
>to volunteer some either way). However the general consensus was that it
>be best if paper was recycled back into paper rather than used on the land.
I have no proof of this, but I have read that all (or maybe it is almost
all) printing today is done with vegetable oil derived inks and none of the
older inks containing heavy metals are used. This was in relation to using
newspapers, including Sunday color comics sections, in compost. Most inks
today are derived from soy beans from what I have read.
I have been considering using cardboard from boxes as temporary mulch
instead of plastic sheeting. That would certainly cut down on labor inputs
as there would be no need to retrieve it after it has served its purpose as
is currently done with black plastic sheeting. In this very wet climate, I
have a constant problem of weed and grass encroachment into the areas where
I have crops planted. Plastic has been fairly successful in controlling
these problems and if cardboard will not cause harm I want to try it to cut
down labor input.
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--
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