shredded copier mulch?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by springtide, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    I currently have the unique opportunity to take home about 8 cubic meters of shredded copier paper! But before i say NO! it's full of dioxins, toxic dyes, etc. I was just after a second opinion - is it that bad? Any replies welcome!

    Cheers all :D .
     
  2. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    Perhaps "mulch" wasn't a good description - i ment as an extra layer in a vegetable patch - the paper is to be recycled any way and i know it is a complete waste regardless (every piece of paper gets shredded in this office - hopefully i get moved out soon!). I just thought it might help for some water retention, i already have thrown on compost, pea straw, worm castings, newspaper and anything else that looked good - but "reflex" style copier paper is much more refined and i don't know what goes into copier cartridges (probably some sort of carbon and some kind of solvent).

    Thanks again.
     
  3. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    Is it?
    How do you know?
    It is organic and some liitle soil wee-beastie will thank you for it.
    Worms (worm farms) make very short work of newspapers (here using vegetable dyes).
    Why not check with the paper and printer people?

    If you are using a laser printer you might also be getting free superfine carbon
     
  4. spiraleddie

    spiraleddie Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    Hi, just for your information, the pigment used in laser printing i.e photocopiers and laser printer is superfine iron particles coated in a polymer film, the mechanism for laser copying invovles magnestisation of a roller that picks up the toner in the format of the desired print lays it on the page then heat is applied to "stick" the toner to the page, this is why your copies tend to be a little warm when printed. you can transfer an image from a photocopy to another page simply by ironing it but the transferral is less than perfect, you can get special paper for transfers.
    The amount of iron contained in the shredded paper is not likely to be high and will proably provide trace levels but it is coated in a polymer so it will proably be slow release lol, of course the polymer is mostly carbon so you still may get your carbon benefit but neglible compared to the carbon in cellulose/lignin of the paper.
    I learnt a bit about photocopiers and toner in my earleir life as a technician recyclin toner cartridges and was interested as i tended to consume a bit inadvertantly
    Cheers
     
  5. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    spiraleddie, when you say it's mostly carbon, you mean like coal? Not like dead plant material?

    I thought it would be handy to burn copier paper, and I have a glass window on my wood burning stove, and that stuff left the WORST residue ever. I didn't think I'd ever want it in my soil, so I always gave the stuff back to the recyclers.

    Here's an article about polymer/carbon black composites. Polymers are strictly man-made, nonorganic, oil-based substances, aren't they?

    https://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/v ... tId=876298
     
  6. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    I have put shredded paper down in the laying box for my newly acquired chooks. I'm very new at this.... The chooks promptly scratched it all out and scattered it around the run. Tried a second time, same thing. Do chooks just do that with everything, or do they have a specific objection to shredded paper and I should buy some straw instead???
     
  7. drrdave27

    drrdave27 Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    mabey they find it irritating like a million papercuts on your bum :lol:

    btw.... From WIKIPEDIA

    "Bleaching
    Main article: Bleaching of wood pulp

    The pulp produced up to this point in the process can be bleached to produce a white paper product. The chemicals used to bleach pulp have been a source of environmental concern, and recently the pulp industry has been using alternatives to chlorine, such as chlorine dioxide, oxygen, ozone and hydrogen peroxide."

    I also read that before bleaching, the raw wood can be mechanically pulped or (the preferred method (more efficent)) Chemically pulped with caustic soda
     
  8. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    OOO you might be right!

    I wouldn't worry too much about caustic soda - it is the basic ingredient in soap making (along with oil / fat) and soon breaks down to water and salt.
     
  9. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    If we use and read paper we have a responsibility to dispose of it.
    Most ends up in dumps producing methane.
    Local newspaperes make fine mulch for the garden -shreded or whole.

    Photocopiers just use activated carbon particles electrostaically adhered to the paper don't they? Anyone know for sure?

    Many wee beasties out there are learning to eat many of our pollutants.

    I am one of the few Australian ecologists who feel Australia should have its own paper mill
    (Just maybe not in the pristine, permaculturally-diverse, beautiful Tamar Valley)

    If we have our own mill we can insist on high levels of environmental responsibilty.
    For starters we could ban woodchipping of old growth native forests.
    As it is we just let China, Indonesia or some other country pollute the planet for us.
    Why do we need pristine white paper anyway?
    Grey would better suit the public service.:)
     
  10. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    I like the thoughts on a pulp mill - i know it is a bit more extreme but i agree with most industry - why does Australia keep sending raw materials overseas to be processed with low or no environmental standards providing employment in some other country so we can buy it back at whatever the cost? I think that a lot of protesting people don't consider that by not "having it in our backyard" we turn a bad carbon footprint into just stupid and shift a world class factory with manageable by-products to some country where it can leave some terrible legacy for our decendants. Environmentalists generally don't take a holistic view point. If we use the product then we should have some responsibility.

    As for the paper i have talked to a few people who add it to their worm farm regularly so i am trying first - hope it does not kill them though.
     
  11. spiraleddie

    spiraleddie Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    the point about the carbon in the toner is that the polymer is plastic coating around the iron filing and polymers tend to be made up from hydrocarbons so is likley about 80% weight carbon.
    Most of the toxic products from paper bleaching are toxic at the plant and the effluent, the paper itself would be relatively free from any toxic compounds as most of the toxic compounds would be unstable and unlikely to remain in the paper in any significant levels. having said that dioxins have been found in paper plant effluents and they can be persistant compounds.
     
  12. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    So much for the chook bum / paper cut theory. I tried sugar cane mulch over the weekend. They've scratched all that out and we are back to the paper at the bottom! :lol:
     
  13. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    could you please expand on that for chemistry Clutzes?
    Ink jets OK?
    thermal printers?
    laser colour?

    Dioxins are incredibly volatile and pesistant, long-lived chemicals. They have benn found in both poles and bio-accumulate in the environment.
    If Oz had its own paper mills we could insist on NO dioxins and stop importing them in the food and herbs we buy from asia.
     
  14. drrdave27

    drrdave27 Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    Could you please post more info or links on this claim Michaelangelica as I would be very interested to learn more. (another thread perhaps) :)
     
  15. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    Hey all, just as a follow up,
    i put the paper over pea straw pretty thick. It matted together when wetted and formed a thin cardboard like layer - porous but no chance of any weeds, the pea straw decomposed twice as fast being continuously moist and fewer snails in that part of the garden. I don't know if it has left any residue of any kind but there were lots of worms when i had a dig around.
    If i get stuck in an office again i would definately get some more. :D
     
  16. spiraleddie

    spiraleddie Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    We have heaps in our office we recycle i.e. send to amcor. I mite take it of works hands for free and give it a try
     
  17. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    I bought a NZ White breeder (doe) recently. I put her in a medium size carry box in quarantine for calicivirus. I put newspaper in the box for cleaning etc. 2 days later she had the paper ripped to shreds and had a litter of 11 kittens. Its amazing what can be done with a bit of (News)paper...

    I think of all the things chemical related in the world, we can get away with using the occasional piece of paper in the garden.
     
  18. Batz

    Batz Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?


    Because we all buy stuff made in China and not Australia, when it comes to our wallets we are not all that patriotic I'm afraid.

    Batz
     
  19. paul wheaton

    paul wheaton Junior Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    My concern with paper is the glue that is used to hold the bits together.

    I've heard some folks say that some papers have no glue at all - but they weren't certain of that. And then there are some papers that are designed to be really shiny and to last a very long time (because the words on the paper are supposedly important) and that paper and that ink are apparently REALLY toxic.

    I remember something from a long time ago about paper containing formaldehyde. Or maybe when it breaks down some of the glues turn into formaldehyde.

    I'm sorry this information is so squishy. I tried to find something to back this up via google, but struck out.
     
  20. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: shredded copier mulch?

    What does formaldahyde become in the soil ?

    If soaked in water for (time) would the formaldehyde/bleach/glues leach from the paper - then, where would be a safe disposal area for the water ? (Would a Gravel driveway or footpath be a safe disposal source?)

    Does formaldehyde effect worms and bacteria in the soil ?
     

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