How safe is newspaper to use in your garden, especially when growing edible crops? This has been an ongoing debate for many years, with many arguments both for and against using newspaper in your garden. Inks used in newspaper used to contain large quantities of heavy metals such as lead along with other toxic chemicals such as cadmium. Once the dangers of using inks derived from these chemicals became public knowledge, new types of inks were investigated. Today we mostly use inks based on soy, which are safer than old inks and contain less volatile organic compounds.
If you are going to use newspaper as a mulch, in your compost or make seedling pots then it may be a good idea to follow some simple guidelines.
- Never use glossy paper
- Use black and white inks only
- Check what chemicals are used to bleach the paper which you use
Making newspaper seedling pots
Step 1: Cut a sheet of black and white newspaper into half or thirds (depends on what pot size you are after) then fold in half.
Step 2: Roll the newspaper around a cylindrical object, such as a glass.
Step 3: Tuck in the ends.
Step 4: Remove from the wrapping object and flatten the bottom down.
Step 5: Fill with your chosen growing media and plant your seeds.