Can You Recycle Wax 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.

While the name might imply that it can be recycled, wax paper isn’t the same as regular types of recyclable paper. Wax paper is essentially parchment paper that’s been infused with a small amount of wax to create a material that’s both water and grease-proof. 

This is the main thing that differentiates wax paper from other paper types and why it must be disposed of using different methods. However, this might make you wonder, how can I dispose of my wax paper in an environmentally friendly way? Continue reading to find out the answer!

Can You Recycle Wax Paper?

Even though wax paper is a type of paper, it can’t be recycled. The wax prevents it from being recyclable because of the contaminating chemicals and additives that are sometimes in it. However, there are other ways to dispose of wax paper aside from recycling it. For example, just throwing it in the trash bin.

The following article is a more in-depth description of how to dispose of and reuse wax paper. It also includes a brief description of the materials in wax paper that make it unrecyclable.

Why Is Wax Paper Not Recyclable? 

Paper is one of the most commonly recycled household items, but only certain types of paper are accepted by collection facilities. Wax paper is not included as one of those types. 

This is because water is included in the recycling process for paper, and the materials that go into wax paper aren’t compatible with that step. 

Furthermore, wax paper is used to catch the grease and oil that comes from cooking food, and it’s very hard to remove it from the paper. 

Additionally, since water and oil don’t mix, it makes it very hard for wax paper to go through the recycling process. 

As a result of this it ends up becoming an easily breakable and slimy material, which is unsuitable for making new products. 

Furthermore, the oil and grease from the wax paper can also contaminate the other paper materials in the recycling bin. 

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This can cause the entire load to be unrecyclable since oil and grease can spread from paper to paper easily. 

These are also a few reasons why wax paper is commonly referred to as a garbage material. 

Why Is Wax Paper Considered A Garbage Material?

Wax paper also can’t be recycled because it wasn’t designed to be. 

The manufacturers of wax paper intended for the product to only be used a few times before it must go in the trash can. 

Therefore, depending on how much oil or grease the cooking food produces, it might only be good for one use. 

There is also no way to make wax recyclable as it contains a lot of chemicals and additives that don’t easily break down into reusable material. 

Furthermore, coating paper with it also doesn’t help anything since there’s no way to separate the wax from the paper, which makes the entire product unrecyclable.

However, there are other ways to dispose of and reuse wax paper besides recycling it. 

How Do I Dispose Of Wax Paper?

How Do I Dispose Of Wax Paper?

Wax paper can be used in the kitchen multiple times before it needs to be thrown away. 

Therefore, when it reaches that point, you can always throw it into the garbage can.

However, if you want to prolong the use of wax paper, there are a few different ways to dispose of it. 

One of these ways is putting your previously used wax paper into the compost bin, and depending on the type of wax paper you’re using, it might be coated with vegetable-based wax. 

Furthermore, the most common vegetable-based waxes are soybean oil and vegetable paraffin, both of which are compostable.

However, if your wax paper is coated with petroleum-based wax, it should not be composted and should be thrown into the garbage. 

Before you place your used wax paper into the compost pile, there are a few steps that should be taken to ensure it composts properly. 

First, soak up all of the grease and oil that you can from it with a paper towel. 

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You won’t be able to get all of it, but soaking up as much grease and oil as possible will prevent too much of it from getting into the soil. 

Though, a small amount can actually be beneficial for the plants, but only a small amount. 

Wax paper can take a while to decompose in the compost isle, but you can make it go a little faster by cutting it into thin strips. 

Then, lay them out evenly in the compost isle and let nature take care of the rest. 

Is Wax Paper Biodegradable? 

Even though it takes a little while, wax paper is biodegradable. 

It usually takes about two to four weeks to fully biodegrade, depending on the type of wax paper. 

Therefore, if the paper is coated with an organic wax, such as vegetable-based paraffin, it takes a shorter amount of time. If the wax is petroleum-based, then it takes a little longer. 

Additionally, the other half of wax paper is made from wood since paper comes from trees. 

This makes the paper even more biodegradable and can be used for other purposes aside from the compost bin. 

Furthermore, wax paper also makes great fuel for fires since it burns so easily. 

The combination of flammable paper and wax makes it a great fire starter since it will catch easily and burn for a while. 

Additionally, the heat from the fire will also help it biodegrade a lot quicker, so you can keep less paper from going to the landfill and use what’s left in your compost bin. 

How Do I Upcycle Wax Paper?

Upcycling refers to creative ways to use products to maximize their potential and prevent more waste from going into the bin.

Therefore, if you don’t have a compost bin or fire pit to put your used wax paper in, there are a few ways you can upcycle wax paper. Those include: 

  • Lining hard to clean surfaces with it
  • Use it as frosting pipers 
  • Get crafty with it 
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Wax paper isn’t just great for catching grease and oil from food, it also works great as a quick solution to keep kitchen drawers and cabinets clean.

Furthermore, wax paper will easily catch any food or liquid droppings that occur in cabinets or drawers. 

Then all you have to do is throw out the dirty wax paper and replace it with a fresh sheet. 

This way your drawers and cabinets will stay cleaner without you having to wipe them down all the time. 

Additionally, decorating with icing is made ten times easier with wax paper since it can easily be folded into a makeshift icing piper. 

Just cut the wax paper up into medium-sized squares and roll them up tightly. 

Next, squeeze near the end of the roll gently and fill the top with the icing. 

Finally, gently squeeze and release the rolled-up wax paper to pipe the icing onto whatever you want to decorate. 

Last but not least, wax paper can be a great craft material as it lasts for a long time and is very easy to work with. 

So getting a little creative with it is a fun and efficient way to lessen the amount of paper that gets thrown into landfills!

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle Altoid tins, whether you can recycle air pillows, and whether you can recycle zip ties.

Conclusion

Even though wax paper cannot be recycled, there are plenty of other ways to lessen the amount of it that ends up in landfills each year by composting or upcycling it to something else. 

Furthermore, wax paper is a long-lasting and multi-purpose tool that can be used for more than just cooking. Its diverse range of uses makes it easy to reuse and upcycle in creative and inventive ways. 

Author

  • 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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