Are Paper Towels Recyclable? Exciting Things You Must Read!

18 min read

Paper towels are not recyclable. The manufacturing process and product contamination are the two main reasons these items cannot be recycled.

Towels are manufactured in such a way that the paper material they were made of completely transforms before they reach a store shelf. As soon as we bring them into our houses, they become infected, wet, and broken down even more. Paper towels aren’t made to be recycled from the start.

Paper Towels: Can They Be Recycled?

Are paper towels a good candidate for recycling? Cleaning your kitchen or bathroom without them isn’t an option, and they’re not recyclable. Fibers are too short to be recycled, making this product unusable for many other purposes. Food, oil, and other liquids can damage paper towels, making them unusable for recycling. Paper towels that have been used for cleaning can be recycled even if they have been used to remove any pollutants. Paper towels that have been bleached or chemically stained should be disposed of immediately.

Why Paper Towels Can’t Be Recycled

A pulp is made from wood, cardboard, and paper byproducts before they are pounded into a pulp, which breaks down the natural fibers and makes them less absorbent. This makes recycling the product more difficult in the future. Prior to being converted to paper rolls, they are subjected to a number of chemical processes. When it comes to improving paper’s strength, texture, and absorbency, toxic chemicals like glues, resins, and softeners are frequently infused into the fibers. It’s because of this that even if the paper towels are clean, they should be disposed of in the trash or compost rather than recycled.

Even the brown, unbleached varieties of paper towels aren’t suitable for recycling since they are “greener.” Using them to clean or wipe up messes means they are always contaminated with residue, food waste, or cleaning chemicals. They are not intended for consumption. This makes them a useful object in the home, but also prevents them from being reused.

7 Best Recycled Paper Towels | Eco-friendly Paper Towel Alternatives | Recycling Center Near Me

If you must use paper towels, consider buying ones that are created from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper. However, even though these items can’t be recycled, they don’t cut down trees or use virgin fiber in the production of disposable paper products. When it comes to choosing environmentally friendly paper towels, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has developed a rating system based on recycled content in its report The Issue with Tissue: How Americans are Flushing Forests Down the Toilet.

How to Reduce Paper Towel Waste

Paper towels are a convenient and simple household item that can be used to mop up minor spills. However, because they aren’t recyclable, they make up a significant portion of landfill waste. Reduce or completely avoid using them at all is the best choice.

To reduce waste, attempt to use the same towel numerous times and don’t use more towels than necessary. Wait for the water or soap to dry before using it again. It’s also possible to cut the roll into smaller pieces and see if you can extend its useful life. Towels that can be composted, such as unbleached brown towels, are an option. They can be composted as long as they were exclusively utilized for food purposes. Composting is possible even while using non-toxic cleaners and plant-based sprays. Paper towels can be replaced with any of the items on the following list.

Unbleached Compostable Paper Towels

It is usually preferable to use towels made of cotton, linen, or another plant-based material; however, there are environmentally friendly options available if you must use paper towels. Brown paper towels, which are created from unbleached recycled kraft paper, are an excellent choice. Composting is an acceptable alternative to disposing of them in the trash. Towels should only come into contact with environmentally friendly products and compostable organic matter.

Cloth Towels or Napkins

At mealtime, you may want to consider switching to cotton napkins. When it comes to cloth towels and napkins, there are a wide range of products to choose from. Cotton, hemp, or bamboo are the finest sustainable materials to seek for. With frequent cleanings and rinsings they can be used for a long period of time. These items, even though they necessitate additional time and effort to clean, can help minimize water and soap consumption and waste.


Paper towels are a popular initial choice for cleaning glass and mirrors. These useful squares, which are available in an unending supply, can be readily ripped off for use in different applications. For removing streaks and spots from these surfaces, newspapers perform just as well if not better.

Reusable Wax Wraps

Paper towels can be replaced with a variety of other materials, some of which may perform equally as well or better depending on how you intend to use them. When it comes to storing and carrying food, reusable wraps are a better option than plastic containers. Eco-friendly beeswax and organic cotton are commonly used to make these wraps. Waterproof, durable, and easy to clean with soap and warm water.

Here’s why you should stop trying to recycle your used paper towels

Recyclable paper towels aren’t doing any good for the environment, even if you think that they are.

In terms of recycling paper products, there are two major drawbacks.

It’s important to remember that even a single filthy paper towel or napkin can house harmful bacteria, contaminating the rest of your recycling.

Despite the fact that recycling plants clean the paper they receive, it is impossible to remove grease from the fibers of recycled paper.

Plants that use waste as a resource Make a wet slurry out of the paper, flatten it into sheets, and then dry it completely. There may be oily spots or even holes in the new paper since the oil has repelled the water during that process.

To prevent a whole batch of recyclable paper products from being contaminated by a single greasy paper towel, throw away all paper products that have come into touch with food, grease, or your dirty, filthy mouth (or any bodily fluids, really).

The major problem with recycling paper towels and napkins is that many of these goods were actually made from recycled paper, so they’ve already gone through the recycling process multiple times.

With each passing cycle, the paper’s fibers become increasingly finer. The fibers of the paper are too short to be utilized again once it’s been reincarnated as a napkin or tissue.

The good news is that you don’t have to throw away your paper towels and napkins. There are a few alternatives to making your life more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Use kitchen towels and handkerchiefs instead of paper towels as a first step in cutting down on waste.

How To Dispose of Recycled Paper Towels

Even if you can’t recycle your paper towels, there are ways to save money and resources by reusing them. Use sponges or dishcloths instead of paper towels to clean up kitchen leaks. Both can be cleaned and re-used after a thorough cleaning. You can use crumpled paper to clean the glass instead of a moist paper towel.


Inorganic trash and mulch can be made from paper towels instead of recycling them. Although it can be used to develop and manage a compost pile, the mulch it produces is affordable and of high quality. Paper towels can be added to compost bins because they decompose quickly and include mostly fibers.

How to dispose of or recycle Paper towels


Paper towels are often thrown away after only one usage, although they are actually quite long-lasting. If a towel isn’t wet or soiled, keep it for recycling. Using a clothespin, dry the clothes on a rack after they’ve been washed and pressed dry. Dry stains can be cleaned with wet wipes that don’t need to be washed.

Waste Disposal

In this climate, paper towels made from yard trash may be accepted by some waste management organizations. This correct disposal is handled by Garbage Management, Inc., the country’s largest waste collecting organization. Call your local waste collection service and ask if they can collect paper towels and other garden waste; if they can, save them and throw them away with the rest of your trash.

Recycled Paper Towels Are Bad For The Environment

Everyone knows that paper is a tree’s path back to the ground. The importance of trees can’t be overstated; they produce oxygen and purify the air. Because we’re concerned about climate change and other environmental issues, we asked, “Are paper towels recyclable after every use?” Whenever we talk about paper towels, we immediately bring up the issue of how many trees are being cut down in order to meet demand for paper towels. “Are paper towels recyclable?” also comes to mind. To put it another way, the more paper towels we use, the more damaging it is to trees.

Tree cutting necessitates the use of large, powerful machinery. These machines are powered by fossil fuels. Moving the trees from the fields to the processing facilities necessitates the use of energy. You need carbon fuels to keep the machines running during the production, washing, and shipping process. It doesn’t matter if we take turns replanting these plants; we’ll use tractors and other large farm equipment. All of these gadgets emit the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

Flushing Paper Towels Is Not Smart Move

You may think that flushing paper towels down the toilet is a good idea because they are composed of paper, but it isn’t. In comparison to paper toilets, paper towels are more durable. Towels don’t decompose since they suck up water and don’t drop half of it. Attempting to flush them away could potentially result in clogged toilets, making them more difficult to remove. Your household’s drains become clogged due to the fact that many of you flush down.

Is this really the best option? It comes with numerous drawbacks, including water system issues. Moreover, you’d have to spend a lot of money on drain repairs. As a result, flushing paper towels is a bad idea. Use them to make compost, or dispose of them properly.


How do you recycle paper towels?

  1. Paper towels that have been used can be composted at home or thrown away in your trash can or worm farm.
  2. It is acceptable to recycle the inner cardboard roll.
  3. There’s a rubbish bin here.

Is a paper towel roll recyclable?

Paper towels and toilet paper are not recyclable. Make sure that cardboard is used to recycle only empty rolls.

Are paper towels biodegradable?

The majority of disposable toilet paper is biodegradable. Paper towels biodegrade quickly due to the thin, absorbent, and light paper used in their manufacture. Paper towels are biodegradable, but that does not mean you should throw them away.

Are kitchen paper towels recyclable?

Your kitchen towel’s inner cardboard roll should be disposed of in your recycle bin. Used or unused paper towels cannot be recycled and should be thrown away.

Can Kleenex boxes be recycled?

Is Kleenex Tissue box recycling possible? With the poly insert attached, our cartons are completely recyclable. Almost every recycling facility in the country accepts these materials.

Can toilet rolls be recycled?

Your local council’s kerbside recycling bucket, bag or box and your local Household Waste Recycling Center both accept toilet roll tubes (cardboard). FACTS OFF THE TAPE: Clean cardboard can be recycled in most cases.

Can you recycle hand towels?

Contamination can be seen in paper towels and tissues, such as those found in public bathrooms. Paper fibers are used, however they cannot be reused.

How are toilet paper rolls recycled?

Paper pulp is made in the mill by mixing toilet paper tubes with water and other collected paper. It is then placed in a machine that functions as an extremely big blender, which blends the pulp. A “paper slurry” is the result of this blending machine’s work.

Are blue paper towels compostable?

Towels that aren’t specifically banned from your compost bin are fine to use for cleaning and drying. Paper towels can be composted if they are used to dry hands, clean dishes, or wipe surfaces. For your compost bins, these are considered brown or carbon-rich waste.

Are Kleenex and paper towels compostable?

You can recycle paper towels that you’ve used to wipe your mouth or remove sauce smears from your fingers. A paper towel that has been used to mop up food or drink spills can, in general, be composted.

How long does it take for a paper towel to decompose?

For paper towels, you can expect to use them for 2–4 weeks.

Can you put paper in a compost bin?

Newspaper and other paper, with the exception of glossy and colored papers, which may contain harmful heavy metals, are safe to use as mulch or as compost. Well-chosen material and frequent turning are the keys to a happy, healthy compost, as you’ve no doubt already found.

Can you recycle used blue roll?

In many households, the cardboard tube of kitchen rolls is collected as part of a recycling program. Unless instructed otherwise by your local government, kitchen roll that has been used should be disposed of in your garbage.

Reusable Toilet Paper: Pros & Cons, Making Your Own, How to Clean

Why is kitchen roll not recyclable?

Tissue paper can’t be recycled either, which is a little-known fact. Tissue paper is often created using recycled materials. Because of the short fibers, it cannot be recycled and will produce inferior pulp throughout the recycling process.

Is wrapping tissue paper recyclable?

In most cases, you can recycle shiny wrapping paper in the blue container. Wrapping materials with metallic or plastic finishes should be avoided when purchasing or recycling. Composting tissue paper is the best option. The fibers of tissue paper are too short to be reused.

Can I recycle Pringle tubes?

Either at a Bring Bank or a public drop-off place, you can recycle your Pringles® tubes. In the form of a convenient drop-off point for the general public.

Can you recycle envelopes with glue?

It’s okay to dispose of moisture-activated adhesives, such as those found on lick-to-close envelopes, because they disintegrate in water.

Are puffs recyclable?

All Puffs boxes except for the ones containing lotion or lotion scented with Vick’s are recyclable, according to the company’s website. Due to the lotion in the product, the Puffs plus Lotion boxes are not recyclable in current recycling systems.

Can you recycle paper with ink on it?

Ink-stained paper may be recycled, right? Do you think it’s possible to recycle inkjet printer cartridges? Using a chemical solution and air bubbles, the paper pulp is dissolved.


You may wonder what to deal with the paper towels after they’ve served their primary purpose. Are paper towels a good candidate for recycling? It would be great if this question could be answered soon. Paper towels are a nice idea. It’s more important how you handle them after each use. Paper towel recycling has been addressed in this article. So, pay your dues and keep the planet secure! You can learn more about paper towels by clicking this link.



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