Tissue Paper: To Recycle or Compost?

Tissue Paper: To Recycle or Compost?

Sep 21st 2020

Most tissue paper on the market (including ours) is labeled as recyclable.

But, what does this actually mean? Should you be recycling tissue paper?

Like almost all recycling questions, the answer is “it depends” and “follow the rules set by your local recycler.

Technically, tissue paper - like all papers - is recyclable. It can be repulped and turned back into another form of paper.

However, for a municipality or waste management provider to accept an item for recycling, the provider must have the infrastructure to sort the material and profitable markets to sell into.

Tissue paper (even 100% virgin tissue paper) is pretty low grade, so it isn’t easy for recyclers or MRFs (materials recovery facilities) to find buyers who are willing to pay for it.

Because of this, many recyclers don’t accept tissue paper (even if the tissue paper is labeled as recyclable).

The good news is that tissue paper is accepted at many compost facilities and can be home composted. It can actually be a healthy addition to a compost pile because it absorbs excess moisture generated by food waste and bioplastics. When composting tissue paper, please ensure it has no foil, glitter or shiny coating to it.

If you plan on incorporating tissue paper into your ecommerce packaging strategy, we recommend avoiding a blanket statement such as “our tissue paper is 100% recyclable” in favor of “recyclable, check with your local facilities.” If you ship to someone In Boulder County Colorado (where EcoEnclose is located), residents and businesses are asked to compost their tissue paper (as long as it is foil and plastic-free). If you ship just north or south of us (in Larimer County or Denver County), residents are asked to recycle their tissue paper. San Francisco residents are asked to compost their tissue paper, while New York City residents are asked to recycle it.

And remember you can always encourage your customers to reuse their tissue paper first! For crafts, for wrapping their linens or other household goods, or for gifting.