Paper towels are something that most of us use on a day-to-day basis. They’re one of those items where you buy them, use them and then throw them away without any thought about what happens next. Paper Towels usually end up in a landfill because they can’t be recycled, but there is another option! In this blog post, we will discuss the environmental impact paper towels have and how you can reduce your carbon footprint by composting it instead!
How many tons of paper towels end up in a landfill?
Start by looking at how many tons of paper towels we use each year. The average person uses around 500 pounds of disposable towels per year, while the typical office goes through about 100 rolls per week! That’s an awful lot of waste if they end up in a landfill! It is estimated that Americans alone throw away over 12 billion pounds (or more than three million kilograms) every day!
That’s a lot of paper waste.
The truth is, you really can’t have enough paper products in your vermicomposting bin. This includes a paper towel! So can you compost paper towels? Yes of course!
Just remember paper (including paper towels) is best shredded up first before being added to any composting pile or bin. It breaks down much faster this way and also gives it much more surface area for the worms themselves to get ahold of it.
A vermicomposting bin filled with worms will bring down a paper towel to nothing in a matter of days or even hours depending on how ravenous and populous your worms are!
There are a few things to consider before just tossing in your paper towels though. For one thing, Don’t add any to your bin if they’ve been used to wipe up oils, or chemicals, or anything else that can’t be broken down or is considered toxic.
Obviously, the point here is to break down the paper towel for composting purposes, not to just create more toxic sludge or dead worms in the process!
What are the benefits of composting paper towels?
Paper towel is full of cellulose, which is a great material for composting.
The process of vermicomposting breaks down the paper towel into its basic elements and produces an organic plant food that will result in healthier plants with stronger root systems once harvested from the bin.
What are some disadvantages to composting paper towels?
‘Be aware that it can take 1 to six months or more of decomposition time before you’ll see any results from your efforts if you aren’t using worms!
So, in conclusion, are paper towels compostable? Yes of course they are! as long as they haven’t been used to wipe up any nasty chemicals or oils.
What about composting paper plates? Are all paper plates compostable?
Most paper plates are not compostable, but they can be recycled. The common paper plate is made out of a material that cannot be broken down by decomposers in the soil or water very easily. This leaves it to us humans to recycle them when we’re done with our meal.
There are compostable paper plates you can buy in heed of normal paper plates that can be composted, however. Consider using those at your next family bbq instead!
Interested in learning more about vermicomposting? Check out our other articles: