Is newspaper safe for bedding?

littlebittnJuly 17, 2009

I've had a couple of worm bins for about a year and a half. My boyfriend was concerned about using newspaper in the bins so I stopped using it. That was a disaster - the worms in one bin all died because it was too wet. So I am starting over with that bin.

My question is whether it is safe to use newspaper for bedding and on an ongoing basis for moisture control. He is concerned about dioxins or other chemicals used to make the newsprint and that we may ingest these if we eat vegetables grown with the castings/vermiculture. Does anyone have any info on this? Another question is about the safety of the inks. It is difficult to find newspaper pages that do not have some image printed in color and I don't know if these are safe for the worms or for us.

I use newspaper (and white paper like junk mail sometimes) because it is so readily available. I am also thinking about using leaves. Any other suggestions for bedding and moisture control?


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Shredded newspaper is fine and what I use. Many people use newspaer with great success. Do not use the slick pages. You can also shred cardboard.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 2:07PM
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chevere33(z5 IN)

I do use newspaper, but when I started, I read many times in this forum that you should put some cardboard in for roughage. BUT . . . the COLORED inks are not good for them, so I do sort through the newspapers. Nowadays, the news is very colorful (in more ways than one!), so I end up with very little once I've sorted it.

For cardboard, use food boxes. Don't use cereal boxes because those have a plastic coating.

All newspaper is fine, but it tends to clump.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 3:34PM
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beth_monsterworms(9 SF East Bay)

We have used newspaper with great success for quite awhile now and we do not have any problems with it. We soak it overnight first, then squeeze out the excess moisture, fluff it and add it to our bins. As for any chemicals, it is my understanding that worms are great cleaners and are being used around the world to cleanse the land.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 3:58PM
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leearnold(z5 In.)

Newspaper makes up 50-60% of my bedding. It is safe to use. Call your publisher and ask about their colored inks. Where I am, all ink used (black + colored) for the newprint portion of the paper is soy based and safe for the worms. Yours may be different. But the publisher should be able to tell you that. Don't use the glossy insert pages. Those have heavy metal inks.
I would be careful using leaves in your bedding. Some types need to be composted first to break down any harmful chemicals that are in them. Cardboard is an excellent thing to use if you have access to it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 4:08PM
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jonas302(central mn 4)


    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 11:40PM
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Where I live (BC, Canada) the cereal boxes are not coated with plastic at all. I tried to peel the printed part and it just kept breaking off.
The great thing about the cereal boxes, they go through my shredder, unlike the corrugated cardboard because of their thickness.

I have read in one of the posts that sometimes cardboard boxes get sprayed to avoid rodent "attack" so when I get cardboard from the super market I get them from the food section rather than from electronics or what not.

To absorb the moisture of the food I use shredded cardboard but I use shredded newspaper to cover my bin. It will go down as bedding eventually. Shredded newspaper allow for more air pockets than shredded cardbord.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 11:45PM
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As has been advised in the past, don't use the ads . . . . the worms will just want to go shopping.

(I'd give credit, but I can't remember where I read that.)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 10:54PM
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The local paper usually doesn't print the glossie advertisements inside the paper, they are contracted out. So the adds are done on different more expensive paper and with different inks.

The advertisement sections and Sunday inserts are printed by local print shops that also prints the junk mail you get in your mail box addressed to you, complete with a return addresses from halfway accost the country.

They often print the newspaper adds on one half of a poster sized sheet of paper and junk mail on unused sections of the same sheet of paper.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 2:18AM
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100 percent newspaper bedding

after year, haven't failed yet.

Makes sure the newspaper though is from a reputable source, some newspaper companies (though not many these days) still use heavy metals in their inks

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 4:27PM
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Where are you getting any significant quantity of newspaper?

I see very few newspapers in our suburban neighborhood. One person on our block has one delivered on Sundays. I wouldn't know where to buy one - take that back, Starbucks sells two newspapers. A scrap of ads comes in the mail on Tuesdays. I have not purchased or read a newspaper since News.Google.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 10:29AM
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