Products like paper napkins, paper towels, tissues, and anything else that might have come into contact with food, grease, the mouth or any bodily fluids, should not be placed in your recycling container to reduce the likelihood of an entire batch of recyclable paper products being contaminated by grease or biological pathogens.
The issue with recycling paper towels and napkins is that many of these products were actually created from recycled paper, so they’ve already been through the recycling process several times. Each cycle, the fibers in the paper get shorter, until they’re no longer recyclable. By the time the paper’s been reincarnated as a napkin or tissue, the fibers are too short to be used (recycled) again.
There are a couple of alternate choices to make these products more sustainable and eco-friendly:
Using fewer paper products in general is a good first step — using kitchen towels and handkerchiefs instead of paper products can help.
The short fibers in these products break down easily, they are a great candidate for the compost pile (we offer a business compost service – please inquire).
So if anyone is feeling guilty about tossing tissues and paper towels, please don’t. These kinds of paper products, including your toilet paper, are made of paper that’s already recycled as many times as it reasonably can be.
A little bit more about business composting services…
If your business would like to seriously reduce its trash bill and minimize its environmental impact, there is a recycling add-on solution. Composting.
The service is simple. We arrange for a compost bin to be placed inside or outside your business at a convenient location for usage. Your staff can place compost waste directly inside an office-style container that’s designed for indoor food waste collection.
Don’t believe us that your in-office compost bin won’t smell? That’s okay too, as not everyone likes the indoor composting option. We also have outside composting bins that are just as easy to use. They are weather-resistant and can sit outside nearest any exit door for convenient food disposal.
Regardless of your penchant for composting, every business should consider the environmental impact it makes, along with the proper recycling habits of its staff members. Conscientious recycling habits, reinforced over time with education and outreach, will make a significant impact into the success of any business recycling program.