[GRRN] Junk Mail Worms

Jim McNelly (compost@cloudnet.com)
Tue, 19 Jan 1999 16:57:54 -0600

Hi Greenyes list,

Let me share a composters perspective on the issue of junk mail.

The way I look at it, these lovely companies are very kind to send me
periodic batches of free "worm bedding" disguised as junk mail. I simply
take the unwanted mail, toss it into a trash can with other non recyclable
paper, and later fill the can with water. I let it sit for a few days to
get good and pulpy and then wheel it out to the worm bed and dump it in,
forking the material around with table scraps and yard trimmings.

The redworms love it.

For those who worry about hazards in the inks, all the studies I have seen
show that composting is the best way to remediate any residual hydrocarbons
in the ink and that analyses of heavy metals show that mixed paper,
including magazines and colored inserts, (other than gift-wrapping paper)
is at background levels of heavy metals. Mixed paper and newsprint is
actually lower in cadmium that green vegetables such as lettuce, spinach
and kale. The major source of cadmium in the typical person is actually
from tobacco leaves ingested by smoking.

The worms are nature's bio-indicators and they are quick to let you know if
there is a biohazard in their food. They obviously like it and thrive in
paper products.

Some people have Junk yard Dogs, I've got Junk Mail Worms.

Jim~ McNelly
The Compost Man