Is Printed Tissue Paper Recyclable?

Yes. Paper that has been printed and has no bleaching or other chemical processing is considered recyclable. Paper sheets (receipts, wrapping paper, pages of newspapers, catalogues, tissue paper etc.) are recycled because paper is typically turned into pellets used in the manufacture of plastic bags, straws, cans, foil packaging, etc. Many paper bags can be reused several times and plastic bags usually go right into the recycling bin once opened.

In general, if paper from magazines, catalogues, and other printed material has bleaching or other chemical processing, it is usually not recyclable. If paper comes in one colour and has printing on one side only, it’s recyclable. If it has printing on both sides, it’s considered recyclable.

While we don’t use the words “recycle” and “reuse” in the literature about recycling, we do advise you to “repurpose” a wet newspaper if possible. Because wet paper has a higher moisture content than dry paper, it’s often used to clean carpets, inks, ink bottles, furniture stains, tomato stains, and even the outer layer of paint.

There are several reasons to avoid chemically bleaching any paper. First, paper mills today are much more energy efficient than in the past. Second, when bleaching papers with mercury, metals and other chemicals, the chemicals leach out and contaminate the surrounding environment.

Re-Purposing Printed Tissue Paper

If you have printed or laminated tissue paper, it’s almost certainly biodegradable. The only things that don’t decompose are the vinyl labels and logos that come on the rolls of tissue paper. Because tissue paper is quite thick, it doesn’t shrink as much in water, and in most cases the colouring or logos on the tissue paper don’t come off.

Paper towels and printed tissue paper rolls make excellent displays for gardening seeds, plastic bags, egg cartons, and some seed packets.

Some producers of paper goods are starting to include recycled paper in packaging in an effort to encourage people to repurpose the paper. However, any paper product made after the end of the 602 contains a mix of paper from both recycled and non-recycled sources. Therefore, recycled paper doesn’t necessarily go back to its original source. Once made, recycled paper is considered environmentally responsible regardless of the producer’s practices and products can be labelled as “recycled” or “eco-friendly.”

Here are a couple of tips that can help you re-purpose a roll of paper tissues:

Have tissue paper rolls stored in large plastic bags, usually containing at least one inch of water. The plastic bags protect the tissue paper rolls from moisture, and during the dry summer months, air can actually dry out the paper.

If you have paper towels or tissues from last winter and the weather has warmed up, make a great decorative table display for your house and garden. If you have stamped paper to make tags for gifts, or tea towels or dish towels, cut the rolls into smaller pieces and put them into recycled paper sacks. This is also a great place to store packages of dried plantains that you have bought from a roadside stand.

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