wesleyc
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Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:01 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Compost smells like hairspray?

So I have a compost pile in a pretty big container. It gets air, it gets moisture. I started it about a month ago and it it has always smelled like a moist forest. Lately, it has reduced in size enough that it isn't heating up anymore, so I decided to add some more stuff because I was doing yard work. I added brown grass clippings that had a bit of dirt in there. I added fresh grass that I pulled up from outside the lines of the lawn. There were some palm fronds sitting out in the backyard that had dried up like crazy, so I cut off the leaves and added those in, but tossed out the very woody branches. I also found a cardboard box FULL of old newspapers, so I tore up some of that and added that in. Stirred up the whole compost pile and made it homogenous and moistened it a little bit. It has been about 2 hours and I felt like going out and giving it a stir again and it wreaks like hairspray! I'm thinking that it somehow came from the newspaper that I threw in there. I'm not sure what kind of newspaper it was, but it wasn't just black and white, it had a couple of colorful pictures in there. Does that mean that it wasn't any of that soy-based ink? Should I pick it out?

Dillbert
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Location: Central PA

Re: Compost smells like hairspray?

presuming the newspapers are from this century, the only non-organic/soy based inks would be glossy metallic colors.

new hairspray smell or old hairspray smell?
the old smell was likely butane/propane type propellents. new (non)smell is nitrogen/CO2.....

wesleyc
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Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:01 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Compost smells like hairspray?

How old is old hairspray? It reminds me of stuff my mom used in the early 2000's. My dad says it smells like a farm, but I still catch a rather sharp smell in there

Dillbert
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Re: Compost smells like hairspray?

from the description of what was added to the pile, I don't see any nasties . . .

>>smells like a farm
go with Dad - which is likely whatever you're sniffing. organic stuff rotting gives off gases, smells like a farm, indeed. good description.

wesleyc
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Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:01 am
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Compost smells like hairspray?

Thanks for the help. I still hold that it smells kind of chemically, but I'll live and it will live. I'll bring it up again if it gets worse, lol.

toxcrusadr
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Re: Compost smells like hairspray?

It sounds unusual but I can't think of anything that's a serious problem here. Probably just a bloom of some particular microbe eating some particular thing. It should dissipate.

Even if some of the newspaper had metal-based inks, a few sheets will not contribute noticeably to metals content in your soil. It would take a lot over a long period of time. I normally recycle the colored sheets just in case.
Tox

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