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Organic Gardening: Soy Based Newspaper

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Forum: Organic GardeningReplies: 7, Views: 3
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Pocola, OK
(Zone 7a)

April 27, 2005
5:04 PM

Post #1431192

Ok, while I still have this fresh on my mind, I thought I would share what I have learned this morning over the phone talking to a couple of people at US Ink in New Jersey.

First, I called Thrifty Nickel to see if their ink was soy based and learned that it was not...yet. The guy I talked to said they are actually going to test some tomorrow.

Then I called my local newspaper and talked to someone in the printing room. He took a look at the ink can and said he didn't see the word "soy" on there anywhere, (which pretty much tells you that it's not) but he gave me the name and number to US Ink in New Jersey. He told me that they are the largest, or one of the largest ink companies in the US. You can pull up their website at

They were very helpful. I learned that IF any certain ink has the Soy seal of approval, the color ink has 30% and the black ink has 40%. The rest of that is the actual ink, liquids, and who knows what else. (talked to George and Tom) I talked to them about gardeners and their concerns about the petroleum in their product. Tom said there aren't any tests that he knows of in regards to using newspapers in gardening. That there have been some tests with kennels using newspapers but that's all that he knows of. He said the percentage of ink to paper is 99% paper and 1% ink. Probably not enough to be concerned about, but he was not saying that it would not be a concern. Just that he didn't really know.

Also, as for the colored ink not being safe...Tom said that about 30 - 40 years ago, that was true. But today, the colored ink is not much worse than the black ink.

I'm sure it's a concern with organic gardeners, but what about the rest of you? For those of you using newspaper, has anyone had any problems with plants not wanting to grow? I think that the soy based inks are catching on, but are not nearly as widespread as we have been led to believe. My dh seems to think that if you lay down a newspaper that is not soy based, you might as well be spraying used oil on the area. According to Tom, most of those petroleum products are mostly like mineral oil or vegetable oil, not motor oil. But bear in mind that he is an advocate for their company. :-)

What do you think?

Cleveland, GA
(Zone 7a)

April 27, 2005
8:17 PM

Post #1431608

That is very interesting. I have been wondering what is really in the ink and paper of not only newspaper but other printed materials, like junk mail. I have been wanting to shred the newspapers and junk mail and recycle it as mulch and/or compost, but I hesitate until we know what is really in the stuff.

I like the idea that the ink is only 1% and the paper is 99% (approx.) and it would appear that way. I have a tendency to think that there are more harmful ingredients in the processing of the paper than there is in the ink.

The real question is: Will Mother Nature break down the additives in the paper and the ink, or will they become unremoveable toxins, like mercury?
Pocola, OK
(Zone 7a)

April 28, 2005
12:30 AM

Post #1432325

Exactly! The last guy I talked to seemed to think that there wasn't anything worse than mineral oil in the ink , but I took that "with a grain of salt" because his best interest was in selling his product. But then. mineral oil isn't that great either.
Des Moines, IA
(Zone 5a)

May 15, 2005
8:16 PM

Post #1471739

oh my gosh! We've been using soy ink in our papers in Iowa for over 10 years. It never occured to me that other states haven't caught on yet.

(Zone 2b)

May 16, 2005
6:20 AM

Post #1473182

Quoting:According to Tom, most of those petroleum products are mostly like mineral oil or vegetable oil, not motor oil.

Motor oil is basically mineral oil with some extra things added to it. Both are petroleum products. Vegetable oils (including soy, canola, etc.) are not petroleum products at all.

Many newspapers here have canola oil based inks.
Pocola, OK
(Zone 7a)

May 16, 2005
12:04 PM

Post #1473379

You're absolutely right, spectrum. I wish the newspapers here would catch on faster. By the way, where is "here" for you? I see you are in zone 2b.

(Zone 2b)

May 17, 2005
12:55 AM

Post #1474884

'Here' is western Canada :)
Pocola, OK
(Zone 7a)

May 17, 2005
11:38 AM

Post #1475676

I figured it was somewhere in Canada. :-)

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