The Disposal Scoop on Napkins, Paper Towels and Tissues

When To Recycle Paper Towels and NapkinsHave you ever wanted to know if it is okay to recycle paper towels, paper napkins and tissues in your recycling cart along with other paper products?

Well, the answer is really quite simple.

These items are not accepted in recycling carts if they are contaminated in any way.

Only clean paper products should go in your recycling cart.

Good Green Habits for Paper Towels, Napkins, and Tissues

Here’s the disposal scoop for these types of paper products:

  • Put used paper towels, paper napkins, and facial tissues, in your garbage cart. Do not place them in toilets or recycling and green waste carts.
  • Place toilet tissue in toilets or garbage carts. Toilet tissue cannot be recycled at this time.


  • You can place “food-soiled paper”―including napkins, paper towels, paper tissues and paper plates ― in your home compost bin since it is biodegradable.
  • Or, if your city or garbage company offers a food recycling program, you may be able to place them in your green waste cart to be transferred to a composting facility.
  • If you aren’t sure if you can recycle paper towels and other paper, contact your disposal company and ask them!

4 comments to The Disposal Scoop on Napkins, Paper Towels and Tissues

  • I regularly place paper towels – sans any meat or animal fat residues – in my compost. They bread down faster than vegetable scraps and coffee filters.

  • I always wondered about this, and I’ve been doing it wrong. Makes me feel sorry for the folks who have to sort through the recyclables. This is definitely a lesson I needed to learn today. Thanks!

  • Deb

    I wouldn’t put anything in my garden compost pile that shouldn’t be eaten. Paper products are made with chemicals, aren’t they? Where do you think the chemicals go once dissolved into the soil?

  • Good Green Habits

    That’s a good point for garden composting.

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