My personal feeling is that black and white newspaper pages are clean enough to use as a base for a lasagna bed. I would also use cardboard that isn't covered with ink. If I were in your shoes, definitely use the poopy straw.
The author of Lasagna Gardening talks about using black plastic over the newly laid beds to encourage heat build up to compost the disparate layers quickly. I believe she also mentioned planting in the beds as early as after two weeks.
I use as much as I can get hold of. While industrially produced paper/ink is far from 'clean', oil-based inks and solvents are illegal (here) and the chemicals used will break down.
I recommend further research. What's your comfort-levels vs 'what's in the stuff'?
We have tons, literally, of sawdust and wood shavings. We also have tons, literally, of sheep droppings. Makes an awesome combination because we have lots of it and it is free.
for the weed/grass suppression just pour boiling water where you want to put the bed, or if its hot around look into soil solarization.
Be aware that sawdust is not only acidic, but because it takes a couple of years to break down completely, it robs the soil of nitrogen as it decomposes. Using it with a generous amount of farmyard manure (well aged -- never straight out of the coop or barn!) makes a great combination. It looks pretty and neat too -- unlike newspapers.
One other thing... Sawdust will lift and float away when you get a heavy rain or water with a hose. To get around that, you may need to use some edging material (especially if you are on any kind of slope). For ordinary watering of plants, we dig a small hole next to each plant as we set it in the soil in spring (not for row or field crops but for things like tomatoes, peppers and squash) and then set a steel can with a hole punched in the bottom about 1/3 of the way down in the hole. The sawdust gets piled around that. When we water, it only takes a minute to fill each can and let it slowly trickle into the soil around the roots of the plant. No disturbing the sawdust or wasting water by letting it evaporate from the soil surface.
Campy in Nashville, Tennessee, USA wrote:I am sure you keep and reuse all of those trashbags?
Tree trimers here have to pay to dump their chips.
So you may consider charging them.
I have been hearing that blueberry bushes like Oak chips because they are acidic.
They pay the county here, as well, but I see no reason to spoil a good thing and involve money, when I couldn't be more happy with the product I'm already receiving for free.
Now is a great time in CA for free suburban mulch because people mix green grass clippings with their fallen brown leaves and put them out on the street for the city to pick up. Like said above, I try and beat the city to the punch and pick piles up first.