Are Paper Towels Compostable? Learn From The Best Guide!

14 min read

In the event of an accident, there’s always a paper towel nearby to wipe it up. What do you do with paper towels after they’ve been used? People are increasingly dumping them in the trash. Instead of throwing them away, consider using treated paper towels instead. In order to compost paper towels, you must first remove the chemical from the paper in order for the microbes to get access to it. We’ll find out if paper towels can be composted in this article, and we’ll also discover how to do it correctly.

Are Paper Towels Compostable

You may be feeling a little low. You’re more likely to do something with your paper towels than just throw them away. When it comes to composting, you’re thinking about it once more. Whether or not they’re safe and beneficial in your compost pile is up for debate. So begins the search for a solution to the question, “Are paper towels compostable?”

It all depends on what you’re using them for or how you’re using them. If you clean them with paper towels to remove blood, grease, or dangerous substances, they won’t work again. Despite your best efforts, grease and oil will eventually find its way out of your recycle can. This encourages the growth of intestinal microbes, resulting in the degradation of your compost and the addition of an unpleasant odor.

Are Paper Towels Biodegradable? The Ultimate Guide!

If you use harmful chemicals to wipe your paper towels, do not put them in the compost. The chemicals in the paper towels can have an effect on your microorganisms or macroorganisms. Bacteria can be killed or delayed in growth as a result of this. Dog excrement scooped up with paper towels should not be disposed of in the compost. Infectious germs may be present in them. They can also kill macro and bacteria. In the event that you are ill or have a contagious ailment, be cautious when disposing of your paper towels. You may be causing harm to your compost by doing this.

Seeing that you can’t deliver paper towels, you may wonder which ones you may toss away in the trash. If you have a compost pile, you can throw away most of the paper towels you use to clean or dry things. Whenever you dry your hands, wash the dishes, or clean the floor, toss paper towels in the compost pile after you’re done. These are regarded as brown or carbon-rich goods for your compost bins.

Can White Paper Towels Go In Compost?

The short answer to the question “are paper towels compostable?” is yes, as indicated above. More information is needed in order to give a complete answer.

Observe these criteria before deciding whether or not to compost your paper towels. When it comes to white paper towels, many people are perplexed. Does composting them work?

There’s no need to compost new or slightly used white paper towels. Bleach is evident by the fact that the color is white. Bleach decomposes badly in compost, which may come as a shock to you. They should be recycled along with paper plates and napkins that are no longer usable.

What if your paper towels are covered in fats like butter, oil, or lard? Unfortunately, greasy paper towels and napkins cannot be composted. Composting can be harmed by the air expelled by these pollutants. More bacteria can enter the compost bin if there is less air, which can lead to compost destruction and foul odors.

Finally, do not compost paper towels soiled with cleaning agents. The delicate micro scopic microorganisms that live in compost in the compost heap can be harmed by harsh cleaning agents. For more difficult messes, turn to kitchen towels.

Composting Paper Towels Exceptions

If you’re using paper towels to clean up non-organic goods, you can dispose of them in the trash. It is contingent upon the nature of the waste to be removed. If you’re attempting to get rid of a lot of home chemicals, you might want to think again before using it in the compost. Because of the small number of items contained, there shouldn’t be a problem, but you should also think about ‘are paper towels compostable?’

  • Spilled liquids or food waste on paper towels. This will be disposed of in the compost pile as soon as it is placed in the rubbish bucket.
  • There are oil-stained paper towels. Composting is a risk-free endeavor. These chemicals are high-energy sources in the microscopic environment. Bacteria can quickly decompose them if a large enough population gathers near them.
  • Detergent-coated paper towels for cleaning. Some argue that cleaning agents will break down into harmless substances over time and that topsoil will not be harmed. A small amount of soap should not be a problem for convenience if it is composted, but it will depend on how much soap is used.
  • Paper towels covered in paint spill lint. Surely, you must persevere in this. There are no acceptable pictures of the microorganisms attempting to transform ‘green kitchen organic waste’.

Types Of Paper Towel Shouldn’t Go Into Compost Bin

The subject of whether or not paper towels may be composted remains unanswered. In a compost pile for your yard, would you consider putting them? There is a wide range of responses depending on the purpose of the paper towel.

If you use a paper towel to wipe up oil, butter, or other oily, don’t put it in your garden. Anaerobic bacterial homes are created as a result of oil and grease forcing air out of your compost.

When it comes to cleaning, are you using your paper towels to their full potential? Paper towels containing chemicals should also be disposed of. No idea what will happen to the macro- and microorganisms in your trash can. Towels that are coated in “green” materials for hygiene are also referred to as “green.” We don’t want to keep bringing disease into our compost pile by using green cleaners.

Can All Paper Towels Be Composted?

Yes, that is the quick answer. It’s best to keep your paper towels in the compost bin if they’ve been used or are clean. As long as they’re not covered in oil. Due to their nitrogen-rich brown organic content, paper towels are far better suited for compost than landfills.

It’s a good idea to pre-shred your paper towels before adding them to the compost bin to speed up the composting process. Make a habit of tearing up your paper towels when you compost your pizza boxes, cardboard, kitchen roll, food scraps, tea bags, and coffee grounds.

How Long to Decompose Paper TowelsHow Long to Decompose Paper Towels

Several people simply discard paper trash while considering the possibility of repurposing used paper towels. Paper towels, on the other hand, take up a lot of room in landfills. Imagine the possibilities if we are successful in decreasing our paper waste. The decomposition time of waste materials ranges from two to six weeks. Compost is being added to landfills at a higher rate than other types of waste, so that’s a positive development.

Are Paper Towels Biodegradable? The Ultimate Guide!

Can You Compost Bamboo Paper Towels?

Bamboo paper towels, for the most part, may be composted. As well as banana peels and tissue paper in your yard debris. If you’re going to compost it, you’ll need to double-check the packing before doing so. Synthetic rayon may be found in some bamboo paper towel products. Unfortunately, because of this material, it cannot be composted.

On the whole, bamboo paper towels are a fantastic alternative to bleached or unbleached paper towels. Towels made from bamboo can be used up to a thousand times and are completely biodegradable. Bamboo towels can actually be used more frequently than linen rags in many families!

What Paper Towels Are Biodegradable?

Biodegradable items are significantly more common than compostable ones, which can be hard to find in many products. Biodegradable paper towels are common.

These biodegradable items include reusable paper towels. Towels made from bamboo and other eco-friendly materials are also acceptable. Paper towels biodegrade quickly due to the thin, absorbent, and light paper used in their manufacture.

There is no need to compost all paper towels just because they are biodegradable. Paper towels can’t belong in the compost if they contain grease, animal waste (like dog poop), or human germs (like those you might leave on them if you have the flu). You should be alright as long as you only use paper towels to clean your hands and perform other menial tasks.

Do Paper Towels Break Down In Landfills?

In fact, paper towels decompose in landfills. Despite the fact that they decompose rather quickly, the sheer volume of paper towels produced and discarded vastly outweighs this benefit.

In general, paper towels decompose quickly in landfills. Many of the same things that are found in toilet tissue rolls and shredded paper are also found in organic waste, such as food scraps. However, they pose a significant environmental risk.

Throwing paper waste and paper towel rolls in a landfill is not primarily motivated by environmental concerns about the paper fibers that make up most of the towels. A lot more harm is done by paper towels’ chemicals, bleaches, and plastic components.

Recommended Compostable Paper Towels

Towels made from compostable materials are now available in a variety of convenient forms, including disposable paper towels.

The Seventh Generation Paper Towels are our preferred choice. Paper towels made by Seventh Generation are among the most environmentally friendly in the industry, and they’ve been doing so for years.

When Should You Not Compost Paper Towels?

Paper towels containing chemicals or greasy substances should not be added to your compost pile since they could upset the delicate eco-system within your composter.

Never, ever, ever compost paper towels.

  • As a selling point, the roll can include disinfectants or fragrances.
  • Has been used in conjunction with chemical-based cleaning solutions
  • Grease, butter, and other fatty substances were wiped away.
  • Recovered animal or human excrement or bodily fluids infected with a disease that can be transmitted

Good microorganisms in the compost are disrupted when paper towels with scent or antibacterial compounds are added to the compost.

Compost piles depend on beneficial bacteria that can be killed by the chemicals in cleaning goods, even if the products claim to be natural.

Paper towels soaked in oils, butter, fats, and grease are bad for compost because they suffocate the pile. If there is no oxygen in the compost, bacteria cannot survive, and the compost stops digesting, resulting in a foul odor.

Despite this, there is no need to panic if the occasional paper towel is found in the compost. It should be no problem for a pile that is actively processing it.

Finally, do not compost human or animal waste on paper towels, as this can spread disease-causing bacteria to anyone who comes into contact with the compost before it has had a chance to properly decompose.

Pros Of Composting Paper Towels

Composting paper towels has a number of advantages.

  • Reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfills
  • Carbon (brown) element that helps to maintain the pile’s nitrogen equilibrium.
  • Keeping the pile in equilibrium by absorbing or releasing moisture.
  • Making a valuable horticultural addition from a waste product

Cons Of Composting Paper Towels

Composting paper towels isn’t always a good idea. Consider the following drawbacks:

  • Before adding paper towel trash to the compost pile, it is important to segregate “accepted” from “unacceptable” waste.
  • The compost can become overly wet if too many paper towels are used.
  • Compost microbes might be agitated by chemicals on towels.
  • Rubbing shoulders with a pile of ripped paper towels is time-consuming work.

How Long Does It Take For Paper Towels To Break Down?

Paper towels have a thicker covering of fibrous wood pulp than you might imagine, which takes microorganisms longer to decompose.

It can take anywhere from two to six weeks for an average paper towel to totally decompose in a compost pile.

Towels are more durable than toilet paper since they are used as a substitute for a cleaning cloth.

Paper towels can be broken down more quickly if they are cut into small pieces. The more the pieces are incorporated into the compost, the more nitrogen elements and oxygen they are exposed to, which encourages bacterial activity.

Can you compost paper towels? ⋆ Fork in the Road

How To Compost Paper Towels

The four-step procedure of composting paper towels should be incorporated into your regular kitchen trash disposal practice.

  1. The paper towels that can be composted should be separated from other carbon-based trash, such as cardboard, and placed in your container.
  2. Before adding paper towels to your compost, you should shred or tear them up.
  3. If you’re adding a lot of nitrogen or green components, you may want to add some carbon or brown ingredients like paper towels to the mix.
  4. Rotate the bin or use a garden fork to thoroughly incorporate the paper towels into the compost. Aeration and heat are essential for microbial digestion of paper towels and other materials in compost.


The increasing volume of waste poses a serious threat to both human health and the environment. The best method to cope with this problem is to avoid products that generate waste that takes over a year to breakdown in landfills. Having a comprehensive recycling program for paper towels and other common household waste is an excellent way to keep them out of the water supply and keep them out of landfills. It is hoped that this page has answered the question, “Can paper towels be composted?” Here’s additional information on paper towels.




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