How safe are recycled burlap coffee bean bags with printing in the garden?

Asked October 10, 2016, 8:12 PM EDT

Everyone at our community garden seems to love using the free burlap bags from the local coffee roasters. They are used to cover the soil and keep down weeds - in the paths and in the growing areas. The bags easily disintegrate into the soil. But I wonder if the ink printed on the bags - and they all have printing on them in various colors - does this ink leach into the soil and if so, is it harmful? I have tried looking online but have not been able to find any information about the ink that is used on these bags and what is in the ink. There are many, many articles and sites recommending using coffee bean burlap bags this way. Any information would be appreciated. Thank You.

Multnomah County Oregon garden safety horticulture vegetable gardening

1 Response

Hi:

I think this question might be addressed by looking at some of the resources available at the U.S. Composting Council website under home composters: http://compostingcouncil.org/home-composters/.

There's also a link in there to the US EPA information on composting as well as the Oregon site administered by the University of Oregon.The EPA does consider newspapers suitable for composting, but I could not tell you what difference in the inks there might be. I hope this proves to be the sources you need!