When you have a strict no-wastage policy in your household, you must know about the recycling qualities of each and every item you have.
Whether it is parchment paper, newspaper, or aluminum foils, nothing must end up in landfills. Every object can be given a ‘new life’, recycled, or at least composed.
So is parchment paper compostable? Is there nothing you can do with used parchment paper?

Parchment Paper Varieties

Parchment paper is commonly called baking paper, greaseproof paper, or waxed paper. They come in different varieties and prices, but they all serve the same purpose.

Parchment paper is used when baking, to ensure that the food does not stick to the pan after baking and removes easily. Parchment paper is convenient to use and is essential in many households where baking is common. These papers are used when baking cakes, cookies, and pies.

Parchment paper is usually white or brown. The white parchment paper is bleached with chlorine and the brown parchment paper is unbleached.

Parchment paper is produced by treating paper sheets with sulfuric acid or zinc chloride. The acid will dissolve some of the plant fibers and make it gelatinous. The paper then becomes more water, heat, and grease-resistant.

Is Parchment Paper Compostable? Is Parchment paper biodegradable?

The truth is that there are different types of parchment paper. Some of them are bleached or waxed while others are not.

Some types of parchment paper can be composted easily, but others cannot.

If your parchment paper is unbleached and unwaxed brown paper, you can just add them to your compost heap. They will decompose in no time.

However, if the parchment paper is chlorine-bleached and coated with a waxy or silicone layer, they are not suitable for composting.

Parchment paper is essentially a plant-based product that is chemically treated to become greasy. They will decompose in time. Since they are plant-based, they can be categorized as bio-degradable.

However, due to the chemicals used in making parchment paper like chlorine and sulfuric acid, not all types are suitable for your compost heap. The chemicals in the paper can cause damage to the ecosystem.

In addition, the chlorine that is in bleached parchment paper can release dioxins as it breaks down. These dioxins can be harmful to the microbes in the compost pile, slowing down the composting process.

It can also affect the plants that are fed with this compost and affect our health if it reaches water supplies.

If the bleaching agent used in manufacturing your parchment paper is not chlorine, then check if it is compostable through the label.

If the parchment is coated with silicone, the paper will not be able to break down, hence unsuitable for composting.

If you are concerned about zero-waste in your household, then take care that you use parchment paper that is unbleached, and not waxed with a silicone layer. Check that the paper is completely compostable and not treated with harmful chemicals before you purchase.

What are some better alternatives?

Look for eco-friendly compostable parchment paper that is not bleached or coated with silicone. Here are a few options.

The best alternative for a sustainable home is not to use parchment paper at all! Is it possible? Yes!

To make sure that your food does not stick to the pan, you can grease all the sides with a stick of butter and then coat it with flour. This is the method I use and it works perfectly every time! I never had bits of cake or cookies stuck to the pan, unless I managed to burn them. this option will save you money and also cut down household waste.

What are the three main steps for recycling to be successful? Read this to know!

How can I compost parchment paper?

Parchment paper can take a long time to decompose owing to its shiny surface. If you want to speed up this process, you can shred the paper using a shredder or your hands.

Is parchment paper compostable? Summary

Not all types of parchment paper are compostable. Unbleached, brown parchment paper that does not have a waxy coating can be added to your compost heap. However, the bleached and wax-coated papers are not suitable for composting. Your best alternative would be to use non-toxic and eco-friendly parchment paper or silicone mats for greasing. The most sustainable alternative would be to use butter or oil to grease your baking trays and not use parchment paper at all.

Also read: Is paper bio-degradable?

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*All pics are courtesy of Unsplash.com


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