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    Can You Recycle Paper Towels?

    I’ve addressed whether paper towels are recyclable (or not) IRL twice in the past week, so it’s time to tackle this question for all.

    Can you Recycle Paper Towels in Philadelphia?

    The simple answer is no.

    Although paper towels (and napkins or tissues) are made from paper, there are a few reasons why you can NOT recycle these puppies in your single-stream recycling bin.

    For one, these items could have come in contact with food waste, grease, and possibly bodily fluids, so they can potentially contaminate the whole recycling cycle at the MRF (Materials Recovery Facility).

    Another reason is that these items have been recycled a few times, which makes it difficult for them to be recycled again.

    A better route? You can toss these things in the composting bin, as long as they’re unbleached (aka without nasty chemicals). Just make sure your paper products aren’t picking up dangerous chemicals as well. According to Dave Bloovman of Circle Compost,“if paper products are used to wipe up a chemical, anything toxic, even any sort of anti-bacterial soap, we would not want to risk putting that stuff into our piles.”


    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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