What’s in your mulch?

You might think mulch is pretty straightforward.  Grind up some wood. Dump it in your flowerbeds. Instant curb-appeal booster.

Well, not so fast…

Not all mulch is created equal.

Like many things, where your mulch comes from and how it was produced makes a difference.

mulch planting

Some mulch is made from recycled pallets and similar wood waste.

So, you may be thinking… “Recycled is good though!” And sometimes you would be right. But not this time.

There are two main problems with recycling pallets and similar waste into garden mulch.

First, the pallets themselves may be treated with harsh chemicals to improve their durability, prevent rotting and fungus growth, and prevent insect damage. [Check out this article about pallet wood safety.] When these pallets are ground up and you put them into your garden beds, these chemicals could leach into your soils. Your kids could be playing in this mulch and then touching their faces and putting their hands in their mouths. And if you’re using the mulch near vegetables and other edibles, then you’re growing food in possibly contaminated soils.

While not all pallets are treated with chemicals – some are heat treated – its not possible for to know whether those pallets were or were not treated with chemicals once they have been shredded into mulch. In fact, the USDA requires wood packaging to be treated.

The second issue is that you don’t know where those pallets have been. You don’t know where they came from. You don’t know who used them. You don’t know what products and substances might have been stored or transported (or leaking) on them. They could have come from outside the United States.

Even if the pallet itself wasn’t chemically treated, there is no way to know whether something icky might be in the pallet’s wood simply because it was used to transport something else.

So in theory, recycling pallets into mulch seems like an Earth Day story to celebrate, but unfortunately, there are a lot of unknowns.

Fossil Rock’s mulch contains ZERO pallet material. Nada.

Our mulch is entirely from LOCAL wood waste produced from land clearing operations and sawmill bark removal.

cutting trees
stacked wood
wood cutting

That means it comes directly from trees and other woody plant waste.

THIS is recycling.  But, a better kind.

We personally know the individuals who both clear the land and manufacture the mulch from it. A family-owned-and-operated business much like our own.

And if you’re wondering about color-enhanced mulch and chemicals, know that the colorants used in our mulches are natural, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly. We also carry natural mulch that has no color added.

Colorbiotics Safety Summary