Compost awareness week day three – is ink from printed cardboard toxic?
What a great question and one that many people worry about.
Lots of people use their shredded bank statements as fodder for the compost heap. It provides a great balance for some of the wetter ingredients like vegetable peelings and grass clippings and is the perfect way to prevent identity theft!
Newspapers are ok to shred and add to the compost, along with things like toilet roll inner and egg boxes.
Glossy paper, such as magazines are not recommended because they take too long to break down and can contain toxic inks. Other toxic inks come from metalicised or fluorescent products and it’s no good composting card that has a plastic coating on it as it won’t break down.
I think, unless we contact the manufacturers of cereal boxes and ask them direct about the toxicity of the inks, and then check out their answers with MSDS it’s a hard question to answer!
You might decide to go ahead and compost these products and use the compost around non-edible plants. If you’re a purist, however, and are worried about contaminating the ground, the best bet is to recycle such cardboard in your local recycling facility and use non-printed cardboard for your compost heap or wormery.
I’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts on this as it’s quite a conundrum!
Yay or nay – should we compost cardboard with printed pictures and text such as cereal boxes?