You might be wondering if parchment paper is compostable.
We often use baking paper in the kitchen. The baking paper can be used for everything from baking to food storage.
Unbleached and unwaxed brown parchment paper is compostable and can be used in your compost pile.
White parchment paper and parchment paper with added wax or silicon layer should not be used for composting, but thrown in the bin.
Any single-use product that is thrown away will always have a larger environmental footprint than other alternatives that can be used over and over again.
More and more products can be used for compost today. Some parchment paper can be composted, while others must be thrown directly into the bin after use.
What is parchment paper?
Parchment paper is a type of non-stick paper that is commonly used in cooking and baking, also known as baking paper.
Parchment paper is primarily made from two components: silicone and wood pulp.
The combination of these two components gives the parchment paper its distinctive properties, which makes it ideal for use in cooking and baking. When using baking paper, you do not need to add extra oil or butter.
Parchment paper types
When we talk about baking paper, there are two main types of parchment paper: white and brown.
White parchment paper: This type is made from wood pulp. The parchment pulp gets bleached to remove the brown color.
This type is therefore less environmentally friendly than brown parchment paper.
Brown parchment paper: This type is made from wood pulp. The parchment pulp has not undergone the bleaching process and will therefore stay brown and not white.
This type is often referred to as the unbleached parchment paper, If you have heard someone say this.
Silicone is coated on parchment paper to give it its non-stick properties when used for cooking or baking.
However, It’s rarely seen that parchment paper is sold without the silicone coating.
How To Compost Parchment Paper
The biggest challenge with composting parchment paper is the time it takes to break down.
The little innocent paper that is used for cooking or baking can take anywhere from 60 to 90 days to completely decompose.
This is not ideal if you want to produce a new compost pile within’ 4 to 6 weeks.
The smooth layer on parchment paper slows the composting rate to break down the paper. The smooth layer takes time to break down enough for the microbes to break down the paper.
A great way and method to aid the decomposition of parchment paper is to cut the paper up into smaller pieces, which will allow the microbes easier access the fibers in the parchment paper and speed up the decomposition.
Break down the paper either by using a scissor, tearing it up with your hands, or through a paper shredder to make it even faster.
Can Parchment Paper be recycled?
Parchment Paper should never be thrown in the recycling bin. However, the box from the parchment paper is recyclable.
Even though you don’t have a compost pile, you can still contribute to sustainability in this way.
The reason why parchment paper is not recyclable is because the manufacturers treat it with acid. Furthermore, they use a silicone coating, which diminishes the possible recycling.
However, silicone coating is necessary to use on parchment paper for being able to create a non-stick surface and heat resistance. Without this surface, the baking paper will not be used for cooking or baking.
In addition to the silicone coating, when the parchment paper is used for cooking or baking, will it be contaminated with oil, crumbs, and other things? As a result, the parchment paper becomes unsuitable for recycling.
Best parchment paper alternatives
Today, there are several different alternatives to parchment paper that can be used for cooking and baking in the kitchen.
The best alternatives to parchment paper have the same functional options as ordinary parchment paper.
Silicone mats: Silicone mat is intended for baking, but can also be used for cooking.
Silicone baking mats are made of food-approved silicone and thereby replace the traditional baking paper for lining baking pans or refractory dishes.
Silicone mats are reusable and non-stick, as many today are also dishwasher safe. An example of silicone baking mats can be bought at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-Silicone-Baking-Mat-Sheet/dp/B0725GYNG6
Using oil: Another great and simple alternative to parchment paper is to use sunflower oil, olive oil, or margarine to grease your baking pans or refractory dishes.
If you use oil or margarine, it prevents the food from sticking, which makes it easier e.g. lasagne or a cake to release when it is cooked.
The good thing about these two mentioned parchment paper alternatives is that they are eco-friendly.
Overall, there are several different alternatives and ways of doing things. Choose the best solution for your needs when baking and cooking in your kitchen.
Is Parchment Paper Better for the Environment Than Aluminum Foil?
Parchment paper is better for the environment than aluminum foil and has the great advantage that it can be used in a home compost pile.
Aluminum foil does not biodegrade and can therefore not be added to your compost pile. This also applies to landfills, as they will not be able to decompose.
It frustrates many people that it’s not possible to recycle aluminum foil when it’s possible to recycle aluminum cans.
The problem comes when it comes to reusing the aluminum foil, as it must be clean. When aluminum foil has been used, it often contains food residue or other contaminants.
The majority of the foil is often too dirty for recycling, resulting in a minimal yield. As a consequence, aluminum foil is simply not possible to recycle today.
Before you go …
Did you know that compost can smell quite awful? We have collected 5 common reasons why your compost smells.
Or that the curing time for compost to cure can range from 21 days to many months.
In addition, you might be wondering if your compost requires direct sunlight and if maggots are good or not in your compost.
Find the answers in our article here: How long does it take for compost to cure? (8 Things you should know)