What Do These Things Have in Common?

What do Obama, McCain, the Nashville Predators, recipes, a 2002 Chevy, and the Williamson County Honor Roll have in common? Well it’s not politics if you can believe it!  While I have definite political opinions, I wish to stay non-partisan on this blog and will have to tell both Obama and McCain that they will now become dirt, or really compost!  What am I talking about?  Newspapers!

Change is definitely coming thanks to bacteria and beneficial microbes as they eventually break down our old newspapers. And to those who made the honor roll, congratulations you did a great job, but now its time to make yourself useful in the garden. As for the Chevy, the Predators and the various recipes we have no use for they will join the myriad of published stories that will help our garden grow! Putting shredded newspaper in the compost bin is just one neat idea for getting more brown material to make that coveted substance called gardener’s gold.

The process is pretty simple. Just take a little shredder, a trash bag and trash can to mount the shredder on then shred away. Ideally a cross cut shredder works best since the pieces will be much smaller but the regular cut shredder we have works well enough.  It’s the same principle behind leaves in the compost bin, the smaller the pieces the quicker it will break down.  You will still want to mix your compost well with green materials and keep it aerated by turning it but the shredded newspaper is a great way to help fill that bin.

Most newspaper today is made from environmentally safe products like paper and soy ink.  The glossy parts of the paper like your advertisements and coupons should be avoided since they may contain harmful chemicals in the ink and won’t break down as fast. It’s just one fitting end to our Tennessean newspaper!

8 thoughts on “What Do These Things Have in Common?”

  1. Great tip Dave. We’ve been doin it for years.

    Is the “Tennessean” going out of business? Has another newspaper bit the dust? :O

  2. Hiya Dave,

    I am witholding judgement until I am sure the phenol in the printer’s ink is actually harmless to plantlife. (I know it isn’t harmless to me, so I would never use printed matter for veggies.

    Maybe not all newspapers are using ink these days? Or a different type of ink?

    At a time when the RHS warns us not to use grass clippings that have had chemicals used on it, or manure from sprayed or fertilized fields, I am beginning to have doubts about the so-called eco-friendly way of gardening. As long as eco-friendly is often synonymous with eco-nomically friendly ( to the suppliers), I am treading carefully for fear of doing more harm than good.

  3. Hi Gail! Glad you enjoyed it! 😉


    I don’t think The Tennessean will go out of business for a while although it’s quality has definitely degraded over the years as it will in my bin! More ads, fewer articles, less to read and most of the articles are from AP reports or other sources.


    Great comment! Definitely leaner!


    Sounds like a good program! I’ve used newspapers for a while for mulching. It’s good for keeping those weeds down.


    I don’t know about GB but here the use of lead and toxic chemicals in the newspaper ink was banned a while ago. It’s now mostly soy based inks which are harmless. I’ve not noticed any ill effects on the plants. It also works good as a mulch underneath cantaloupe!

    Thanks Tina,

    I’ve got a ton of newspaper to shred and one more bin to fill. I wasn’t sure I’d get enough leaves and grass clippings since my bagger mower blew up! Hopefully this will be an adequate replacement!

  4. I have been doing this for a while now and it breaks down really quickly in the compost…. Horse poo from my neighbor will be added soon! Waiting for the cold temps as I dont want to smell it in the warm days… lol….

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