Can You Recycle Wax Paper?

It’s a mixed bag when it comes to wax paper. It can be coated using vegetable wax or a petroleum-based paraffin coating. Wax paper is compostable in an industrial environment if it’s covered in vegetable wax. 

While you can compost it in a backyard, there may be some complications. Because paraffin is made from petroleum, it can’t be recycled or composted. 

Because it’s difficult to discern the difference between the two coatings, you should avoid wax paper, or look up the ingredients of your wax paper to determine if it’s recyclable.

What Is Wax Paper and How Does It Differ from Regular Paper?

Waxed paper, also known as paraffin paper or wax paper, is a type of paper that has been impregnated with wax to make it waterproof. 

People have been oiling parchment and paper since the Middle Ages to make it semi-transparent or impervious to moisture.

Overwrapping odorous goods or retaining moisture were two common uses for paper saturated with or coated with pure beeswax throughout the 19th century.

In 1851, Gustave Le Gray pioneered the use of waxed paper as a negative for photography.

After Herman Frasch devised methods of refining paraffin and coating paper with it in 1876, natural wax was mainly superseded to produce waxed paper (or paraffin paper). 

Wax paper is popular in cooking for its non-stick features and for wrapping food for storage, such as cookies. It’s also utilized in the arts and crafts industry.

Also read: Is Laminated Paper Recyclable?

Is Wax Paper Plastic-Free?

Silicone, a plastic by definition, is applied to the surface of parchment paper before it is used. Because plastic is defined as a substance with specific properties, it’s classified as such.

The properties of silicone include its flexibility and malleability, resistance to temperature and water, and the ability to be molded and sculpted. 

It’s good that silicone isn’t derived from petroleum like most other polymers.  In many cases, waxed papers are thrown away as trash.

Even if recycling them is feasible, many people don’t give it a second thought. Several waxed paper products are sent to landfills rather than recycling sites.

Can You Recycle Wax Paper?

Adding any oil to the recycled paper significantly wrecks and damages the entire batch. Therefore, this is what we need to know to understand this issue. 

Due to the heating process used to recycle plastic, glass, and metal, there is little risk of contaminating recycled products with grease and oil. This isn’t the case with paper goods, often slurried with water.

Because water and oil do not mix, it is easy to see why you cannot recycle greasy paper. Put another way, you can’t recycle the paper since the wax covering can’t be removed.

In addition, wax paper is a waste product. As a result, it is preferable to dispose of your wax paper in the garbage when it is no longer functional.

However, your wax paper will take months to disintegrate in a junkyard.

You cannot recycle wax paper for the reasons stated above. Organic and renewable wax paper manufactured from soybean oil is a good option if you’re still using it. 

Aside from a few weeks of decomposition, it’s a viable option. It’s also possible to minimize the amount of wax paper you use.

Consider using it when essential, and then reusing it whenever you get the chance. 

You can help reduce the amount of waxed paper garbage that is already piling up in junkyards throughout the world.

Why Is It So Difficult to Recycle Wax Paper?

Wax paper does not dissolve in water because the wax stops water from reaching it. Furthermore, if you cannot break down the paper into little bits, its utility as a raw material is limited. 

Wax paper is also extensively used in cooking, which means that a large portion of it is covered in oil and grease.

Because oil and water don’t mix, the grease and oil problems are particularly problematic. 

As a result, recycling facilities typically reject the wax paper, especially if it is heavily soiled with trash. Once it’s been used and covered in oil and grease, separating and treating the material individually is required, which is typically impossible.

Can Wax Paper Be Composted?

You can compost your wax paper if you don’t want to throw it away because of environmental concerns. This is a great feature of wax paper.

However, you must be cautious with the waxing ingredients you utilize. You can’t compost waxed paper if you have petroleum products. 

Your compost bin would be tainted due to petroleum wax’s artificial composition. The good news is that specific wax paper may be composted at home even though you cannot recycle it.

You may compost modest amounts of wax paper manufactured from vegetable or soybean oil.

Compost bacteria have difficulty breaking down wax, so tear your wax paper into tiny pieces and feed them gradually to your compost.

The biodegradation rate of wax paper should be similar to that of leaf mulch.

You should avoid composting wax paper made from petroleum-based paraffin since it may contain harmful hydrocarbons. 

Hydrocarbons, for example, are extremely tough for your compost bacteria to break down.

Waxed papers manufactured with vegetable or soybean oil as the wax coating are the best to buy if you intend to compost wax paper.

Is It Possible to Re-Use Wax Paper?

You may reuse wax paper several times.

A damp cloth or wet tissue is all you need to clean wax paper used for baking handmade biscuits or fluffy sugar cookies, for example, and then it’s ready for the next time you bake anything. 

Because wax paper isn’t readily destroyed, you may use it often before throwing it away.

What Can You Do with Wax Paper? 

Wax paper may be reused numerous times rather than thrown away after a single usage, extending its usable life.

It’s usually preferable to reuse an item as many times as possible, even if you can’t recycle it.

Reuse and reclean

You may clean wax paper that has been used to wrap sandwiches or baked goods by rinsing it and drying it. 

Note that the wax covering might melt if you use hot water. 

Get rid of limescale stains

Use wax paper and wax to eliminate limescale buildup on metal faucets. You should lubricate garden tools. Garden shears can be lubricated and protected by wiping them down with wax paper.

Pull out a jammed zipper

Rub the zipper and zip with wax paper to cover them in a thin coating of wax, which should help free them.

Make a fire starter from scratch

Wrap dryer lint in discarded wax paper and set it alight.


The wax paper may also be used to build a water-resistant paper boat for kids to play with.

How Can I Sustainably Use Wax Paper?

In most circumstances, the process of recycling paper is simple.

However, we must confront the fact that the paper recycling process makes it quite difficult to recycle some materials, such as unclean or soiled paper, wax paper, or even pizza boxes.

Because of this, if you buy wax paper to recycle it to preserve the environment, you might want to reconsider.

When it comes to paper and food liners, you may buy a different product or get accustomed to the fact that you cannot recycle it. 

Because of its decomposition process, it’s still a better option than plastic.

How Biodegradable Is Waxed Paper?

Wax paper has the added benefit of being biodegradable. Even though they contain wax, they nonetheless decompose over time.

They aren’t like plastics, which decompose in centuries.

Waxed paper can take anything from two weeks to many months to decompose organically. This makes waxed paper one of the best biodegradable paper products available. 

It’s possible to use a different kind of wax in your compost bin. If your paper has been treated with vegetable or soy wax by the manufacturer, there should be no issues.

Composting would break down these organic materials because they are natural. In addition, they won’t pollute the trash or damage your plants. 

You should always confirm the type of wax used to coat your waxed papers. This will help you determine whether or not you can compost them. 

If you’re still unsure, you may look for specifics on the package or speak with the vendor directly.

Wrapping Up 

Food-contaminated paper, waxed cardboard, milk, and juice cartons, oil-soaked paper, and pet food bags are all examples of “mixed papers,” and wax paper falls into the same category.

That implies you have two options for the wax paper: reuse or minimize. You can’t go wrong with any of those for protecting the earth.

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