Mulching Your Already Read Forward

By Devra Ferst

Published May 12, 2010, issue of May 21, 2010.

Here at the Forward, we get some interesting e-mails and letters from readers. But in early May we had a first: A reader wrote in, asking how to repurpose old issues of the paper.

Margaret from Seattle wrote: “I garden and would like to know whether the Forward is printed with soy-based ink. If so, I would be able to safely use the newsprint as mulch when I am finished reading the paper.”

What you don’t want to keep us, Margaret?

After checking with our printer, who is also an avid gardener, we learned that the Forward is indeed printed with eco-friendly soy-based ink, and we relayed the information to Margaret. She wrote us back with some tips for recycling the paper:

  1. One technique is called “lasagna layering”: Unfold the paper, wet it and use it as one of several layers placed on top of soil to enrich it. The layers include wet corrugated cardboard, grass and plant clippings, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, leaves, straw and compost. Repeat the layers until you have built a “lasagna” that is about 12 to 18 inches in depth.

  2. Wet, tear and use the recycled newsprint as the carbon component to mix with vegetable scraps and plant cuttings and a nitrogen component in a compost pile.

  3. Another alternative is to use leaves or straw along with wet, torn newspaper to mulch soil around plants.

Happy composting!



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