Earthfare brand paper towels in compost

bibbus(7b)February 10, 2013

After pulling out hundreds (maybe a slight exaggeration)of uncomposted Bounty paper towels from my compost I wanted to see if anyone can provide experience with Earthfare brand of paper towels and paper plates and bowls? I emailed the company but didn't get a satisfactory answer. The packaging only claims its products don't have bad chemicals but doesn't say if they will break down when composted. The paper plates and bowls seem to have a smooth sheen on them which I hope isn't plastic.

Does anyone know of a source of information about organic composting. I've seen such differing guidance on cardboard - some say its fine, other say it has bad chemicals in the glue.

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GreenOrchardMom(Ga Mts 7)

I have never seen a non bleached paper towel from earthfare or any where in my compost after a few months but then I really don't use paper towels often
they are occasionally thrown in for the worms after a picnic

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:27AM
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I have no idea why Bounty would not compost. Have you contacted them about why their ingredients or processing would result in a composting resistant product? Most curious.

We've discussed Organic composting before here, a bit (I capitalize Organic when referring to chemical-free, etc. vs. 'organic' which refers to the organic matter we put in the compost pile). There does not seem to be much info out there on it. We often discuss topics such as paper inks, pesticide residues on grass clippings, etc.

To me (and I know you didn't really ask for opinions on Organic composting), the real decision point is a trade-off between composting something and landfilling it because you don't want to. First I reduce and reuse, then decide whether to compost. We only use about 3 rolls of paper towels a year at our house, because 'reduce' and 'reuse' applied to cleaning means reusable rags, sponges and towels. The cheap towels seem to compost fine.

I'd be interested to hear more on what you find out!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:07PM
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I've not experienced any problem composting paper towels although some, those that are supposed to be more absorbent, take longer then others. It may be that you need to rip them into smaller pieces.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:41AM
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compogardenermn(4- Twin Cities, MN)

I've never had any problem whatsoever with paper towels not composting- doesn't matter the brand. Unless you soaked them in laquer or varnish (or didn't have proper moisture, ventilation, turning, etc), I cant seem to figure out why they wouldn't!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:26PM
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connie_cola(DE 7)

I used to have trouble with paper towels taking a long time to compost. Then I started tearing them into at least 3-4 pieces and now they compost just fine. I had the same problem with coffee filters and the same solution worked for them. For cereal boxes I found it was necessary to tear each piece such that there is at least a small area where the front separates from the back (shiny side peels off) revealing the coarse in-between layer. YMMV, good luck.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 6:25AM
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Whew! That's a lot of work but I'm now tearing my paper towels up to see if that helps. I did not call Bounty because I don't want bleach in my veggie compost. I may try to use them in another compost bin that I am doing for non edible plants. Thanks for all the responses and sorry for the late followup. I forgot to check the box to receive responses.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 2:01PM
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