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Can I Compost Leaflets and junk mail?

(From the Household waste category | 1 comment - join the conversation)

junk-mailWhile nearly all paper will quickly decompose with a little moisture, it’s usually better to recycle leaflets & junk mail through your paper recycling bin rather than put them in the compost.

In order to be eye-catching, these days leaflets are often heavily printed with bright colours on glossy paper.

Plastic coatings or synthetic addictive are often added to the paper to achieve that shinyness and those, alongside the inks, can introduce unwanted chemicals into your lovely compost heap.

Envelopes containing, or included in, the junk mail also usually used synthetic-based glues.

Basic leaflets, lightly printed on normal office paper or even better newsprint, cause less of an issue for a compost heap but it’s still better to recycle them: it’s better for them to stay in the loop for as long as possible.

Don’t forget, in the UK, you can reduce the amount of (addressed) junk mail you receive through your letter box by signing up to the Mail Preference Service.

(Picture by Dvortygirl)

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1 Comment

  1. Hi – Just discovered your website, so cool, I love it. Anyway, I have recently started shredding some of my junk mail (I think that is the equivalent of “leaflets” in the US) and adding it to my compost. Seems to be working great. As you recommended, I avoid the highly glossy mail because of the issue with metals in the ink.

    Anyway, my question is you mentioned keeping the mail printed on regular office paper in the recycling stream. In the US the recycling system is really stressed because of the ongoing trade tensions with China (most of our recyclable material is shipped there). Previous estimates of the rate of paper actually recycled ranges from 50-70%. So (wow, this is a long-winded question, sorry), my thinking is that by composting some of my paper I’m likely reducing the amount of greenhouse gas released into the world. I like the certainty I get about the ultimate end to this wasteful junk mail.

    Thoughts? Do you think that logic makes sense? Thanks in advance for any suggestions you might have.


  1. Beginning composting - Page 2 - […] Originally Posted by Gertrude's Ghost What's the problem with composting glossy paper? A lot of our junk …

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