reviewed by Christina Lopez
Paper towels play an integral role in every household. Can you imagine life without them? Well, we could experience a seeming standstill life, especially when we have pets and kids. Despite them playing a crucial role in our homes, are they a safe option to add to the compost? Often, the answer to this relies on the kind of paper towel plus the things you wipe.
With that in mind, this article seeks to shed light on whether you can compost paper towels or not. Read on to find out!
Composting entails natural biological techniques of breaking down organic components. It is still an excellent process to minimize methane emissions and ensure the waste materials are managed efficiently. When it comes to paper towels, people use them to clean different things in their homes.
Are They Compostable?
Definitely, it’s effortlessly to compost paper towels. The reason why they are easily compostable is that they are made using 100% recycled materials. The cellulose fiber material is also available in paper towels, making it effortless for bacteria to break. These materials are definitely the best to include in your composter because they also help absorb moisture.
The sole issue with paper towels is that they can impede airflow since they have bits of materials great at absorbing water. While paper towels can assist in controlling moisture, they still initiate decomposition faster than necessary.
When you use many paper towels in your compost pile, paper towels will absorb available moisture and lead to airflow issues. Paper towels can still lead to clumps that develop waterlogging in the compost bin.
Remember that most kitchen paper towels that emanate from cellulose fiber should never be utilized in a compost bin. You should confirm the recycling details from the paper towel package.
You also need to ensure that your paper towels are not an alternative for shredded paper. However, you can consider recycling something like a cardboard and paper towel provided that you tear them into minute pieces.
There are different types of paper towels, and the name paper towel means all the available options. Note that all the types of paper towels are not qualified to get into your compost pile. You can consider some options, but this will rely on the things they have cleaned. The rule of thumb is that paper towels for cleaning chemical residues, oil, and grease should never get into your compost bin.
As you all know, grease and oil can block the air out of the bin, giving space for anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria are types of bacteria that don’t live or grow when there is oxygen. This signifies that when your bin lacks oxygen, it influences the process of decomposition.
That said, you need to make sure that your compost pile is well aerated. Grease and oil still create an awful odor into your pit, and this unacceptable. For real, the awful smell from your compost bin implies that something is not adding up.
There are different types of paper towels you must avoid including in your compost pile. Composting the wrong paper towel can contribute to greasy or chemical substances that can alter the balance in your composter. Always try to avoid the following;
Paper towels with antibacterial additives or fragrances introduce severe chemicals to your compost pit. This influences the ideal health and balance of bacteria that handle the breakdown of the compost.
Chemicals emanating from cleaning items, despite being all-natural, can destroy essential microorganisms found in the compost pile.
You should also avoid butter and fat in a compost pile because, just like oils and grease, they block the air around your compost pile. If there is no air, the bacteria will die; hence, influence the whole decomposing process.
Despite the concern about greasy paper towels, you should never worry if they get into your compost. If your compost is active, the process should progress without any problem.
Last but not least is that paper towels used in animal and human waste should never get into your composter. The reason is that they can enable the passage of diseases or harmful pathogens to individuals touching the compost before complete decomposition.
There are several reasons for composting paper towels. These can be;
Decomposing paper towels also comes with some setbacks. Some of them include;
The time you require to decompose organic matter basically depends on several aspects. For example, a thicker layer of paper towels and the fibrous wood pulp will take microorganisms a lot of time to digest. An average layer can take between 2-6 weeks to decompose.
Note that paper towels are hard to dissolve compared to toilet paper. The reason is that they are an alternative option for a cleaning cloth and must be long lasting.
Breaking the paper towel into minute pieces will gear the breakdown process. The more you mix many paper towels with other ingredients, the more oxygen and nitrogen they expose, enhancing bacterial action.
Composting paper towel is easy and encompasses a four-step-by-step process. This process must be followed as a part of the waste disposal pattern.
Composting paper towels is straightforward. You only need to follow the right steps, use the right ingredients, and ensure the process becomes part of your home recycling efforts. Actually, you don’t have to fill your land with home waste when you can use paper towels together with other ingredients like coffee grounds, vegetable scraps, and eggshells to decompose them. Just take a move and enrich your compost using paper towels.
About Christina Lopez
Christina Lopez grew up in the scenic city of Mountain View, California. For eighteen ascetic years, she refrained from eating meat until she discovered the exquisite delicacy of chicken thighs. Christina is a city finalist competitive pingpong player, an ocean diver, and an ex-pat in England and Japan. Currently, she is a computer science doctoral student. Christina writes late at night; most of her daytime is spent enchanting her magical herb garden.