Inked up 

It's best if you only compost newsprint with black ink and not colored ink

EDITOR'S NOTE: All of Ask Renee's columns are moving to NUVO! Here's one from July of 2015.

Find more Ask Renee columns here:

click to enlarge paper_recycling_in_ponte_a_serraglio.jpg


Is newsprint safe to compost or does the ink contain hazardous ingredients?


Dear John,

I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but it would really be best if you would only compost newsprint with black ink and not colored ink. Don’t get me wrong, I love the comics more than any other section of the paper. I just can’t stand to think that Garfield might unknowingly sabotage your Italian herb box or Billy might traipse with his potentially toxic tennies through your garden.

If you’re even thinking about asking about glossy paper, stop. It’s just not going to work out.

To be perfectly honest, I would prefer that you recycle your newsprint rather than compost. If you compost it, it’s gone forever, but if you recycle, then it can be made into another paper product. Besides, too much paper in a compost pile might tip the balance of carbon to nitrogen. But that’s just me — do what you must.

Piece out,


(NOTE: This missive appeared in the July 22, 2015 issue of NUVO.)


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Renee Sweany

Renee Sweany

Renee has spent the past several years surrounding herself with like-minded people who share her passion for caring for the planet. She began writing “Ask Renee” after four years of offering green tips through her e-newsletter Green Piece Indy. E-mail her your green living queries at

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