It’s found in many kitchens around the world and it’s normally used in the cold storage of food. You might have guessed that we’re talking about wax paper.
It’s also known as wax-coated paper or waxed paper.
Meanwhile, the to-go coffee cups or milk cartons we purchase so regularly are enclosed in waxed cardboard, although in its larger box form, it is rarely used by consumers and more by retailers instead.
So, what are its characteristics and how eco-friendly is it?
To start off, wax paper is a regular paper that’s been coated with, yes, you guessed it, wax.
However, this wax substance can come in many forms. For example, it can be paraffin-based, oil or vegetable-based (soybean, to be more precise).
That’s why if you have this product at home and are looking for environmentally-friendly ways of disposing of it, you should first take into account its original components before throwing it into the ‘Paper’ recycling bin or in your compost heap at home.
Can we recycle wax paper?
The very short answer to this question is that wax paper can’t be recycled because it’s coated with wax.
This means that lumping it with other categories of paper becomes a “no-no” and you should consider other eco-friendly ways of disposing of it.
Is wax paper biodegradable?
Technically speaking, wax paper can be considered biodegradable and according to some sources, this can take place at around the same rate that it takes for fallen leaves to decompose.
In the larger scheme of things, this is a period of around eight weeks and isn’t considered too long at all, especially when compared with plastics, which need to be recycled (a costly process, too) and are not generally biodegradable.
Is wax paper eco-friendly?
Returning to what was mentioned above, determining whether wax paper is an eco-friendly choice will ultimately depend on the nature of the wax coating – whether paraffin- or soybean-based.
In this regard, you may want to double check the product’s label before making your purchasing decision so that you make more conscious environmental choices.
Making informed choices with wax paper
While wax paper may seem like the eco-friendly route to go at first sight, keep in mind its main components and building blocks: paper and alternative types of wax.
When making your decision, try to opt for vegetable or soybean-based waxed paper which is biodegradable in your compost heap.
On the other hand, paraffin-based waxed paper could be considered an ordinary pollutant and you might be surprised at why it doesn’t decompose or why it’s not accepted by your local recycling companies.
Therefore, making informed choices is the first step to helping the environment!