Can You Recycle Butcher Paper? (Don’t Make These Mistakes)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

You’ve come home from grocery shopping with your wrapped up meats, sandwiches, and other foods, and all the paper can go into the recycling bin right?

Well, there are actually two different kinds of butcher paper, and one cannot be recycled. Keep on reading to see what my research discovered!

Can You Recycle Butcher Paper?

Butcher paper can be recycled when it’s not coated in a layer of wax. If the paper is untreated, it can be used repeatedly over six times before it can be thrown in the recycle bin. However, if the butcher paper is treated with wax, it cannot be recycled.

So how do you recycle butcher paper? Read on to learn more about recycling butcher paper and how you can reuse it! 

How To Recycle Butcher Paper

Wax-treated butcher paper is a no for recycling, but plain, untreated butcher paper is a yes!

Since both are made of paper, it’s only the wax coating that prevents it from being recycled. 

Furthermore, when looking at boxes of butcher paper, you can look for the recycling sign. 

Also, checking the original packaging will help you note what brands carry recyclable paper. 

Of course, if the paper is used as wrapping and you don’t have the original packaging, you’ll have to do a feel test. 

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Therefore, if it feels waxy, do not put it in the recycling bin and instead put it in the trash.

However, if you’re unsure whether or not it is coated in wax it is better to be safe than sorry and not add it to the recyclables.

As this can cause a traffic jam on the recycling belt and possibly clog up the machine. 

So, now that you know how to recycle butcher paper, next, you will learn how to dispose of butcher paper correctly.

How To Dispose Of Butcher Paper 

How To Dispose Of Butcher Paper 

After you determine what kind of butcher paper you have, you can dispose of it properly. 

Furthermore, there are even ways to recycle unwaxed butcher paper if food has been on it.

First of all, any paper that contains wax on it or mixed into the paper should not be recycled. 

These things should be placed in the trash, and they will end up going to a landfill.

If you are interested in composting, you can compost waxed or oiled wax paper.

All you have to do is rip it into small pieces and place it in a composter, and eventually, it will completely break down. 

If your unwaxed butcher paper has food residue on it, clean it off as best you can, then place it into the recycling bin. 

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Don’t wet the paper, but you can use a paper towel or other paper product to get the food off.

However, if the butcher paper has food residue, it might be best to just compost it.

If the unwaxed paper is clean, place it directly into the recycling bin as it will be able to be easily broken down and reused. You might also be wondering if butcher paper is biodegradable, continue reading to find out!

Is Butcher Paper Biodegradable?

Butcher paper is biodegradable because of the paper used in it! 

Therefore, the paper will be able to be broken down and reused completely. If left in a landfill, it will also break down and be absorbed by the earth.

However, wax butcher paper won’t be broken down because the wax will not allow the paper to break down. 

The wax will instead encase the paper and will keep it from biodegrading, however, it can be composted and broken down by organisms.

How To Reuse And Upcycle Butcher Paper

If you want to reuse clean butcher paper, you can use it for various things.

Furthermore, you can use it for various paper projects such as gift wrap or even doing paper-mache projects. 

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Butcher paper can also be used to absorb smells and chemicals.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle cast iron pots and pans, whether you can recycle paper with ink, crayon, paint, or glue on it, and whether you can recycle acrylic plastic.


Unwaxed butcher paper can be recycled, however, waxed butcher paper cannot. Furthermore, if you are uncomfortable throwing the waxed butcher paper into the garbage it is compostable as it can be broken down by different organisms. 

Butcher paper is an excellent reusable item and now that you know the basics of recycling butcher paper, you will be able to do your part to help the environment!


  • Jean Richardson

    Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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