can i add paper towels to my compost?

cjs111May 22, 2008

will this effect anything positively or negatively?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yes you can. No problems.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 11:25AM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

They are a brown and will break down quickly especially if they aren't wadded into balls. I don't put a lot in, but I do tear them up a bit to prevent ball formation. It probably isn't necessary.

If you are using lots of them, like whole trash cans at a time, they might form a really big, dense clump, so you would want to layer them with more bulky material and/or plenty of greens.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 11:39AM
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treeinnj(6)

cjs - Absolutely! Hey, they make up a good portion of my compostables, as we use a lot of papertowels for wiping, minor spills, etc. - but, I don't compost the ones that are used w/cleansers. Paper towels & napkins all go into the compost. That's why I like the compost countertop stainless steel "crock" on my kitchen counter - wipe & toss (into the "crock" for later emptying into the compost pile).

I've added a link below for more compost ingredients that you might not have thought of yet ...

Have Fun & All the Best, Tree

Here is a link that might be useful: 201 Compost ingredients

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 11:39AM
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lilacs_of_may

What about paper towels used with the more environmentally kind cleaners, like Simple Green? Can/should they be composted? And are there any brands or types of paper towels that aren't compostable?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 6:45PM
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grayentropy

All my paper towels and used tissues readily turn to compost. I agree that paper towels may clump so I throw them in relatively flat and/or shreeded. They are great for absorbing moistures from those wet kitchen greens.

I think the only ones I would avoid would be those that claim antimicrobial properties.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 8:55PM
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greengardener07

What about when you clean up any grease of dairy that may have dripped?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 9:28PM
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dab07

Paper will decompose, but what about the bleach used to make the paper white? I'm leery of that.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 10:22PM
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bpgreen(5UT)

"What about when you clean up any grease of dairy that may have dripped?"

Do you mean grease or dairy? I'm not sure what grease of dairy is. I'll assume you mean grease or dairy.

We don't always go through milk very quickly, but the price difference between a half gallon and a gallon is small enough that it makes more sense to get the gallon even if part of it goes to waste. If part of it does go to waste, I put it in the compost.

Grease is somewhat difficult for the microbes to digest, but as long as you're talking about small quantities, you should be ok.

"what about the bleach used to make the paper white? I'm leery of that."

The bleach is long gone by the time you have the paper. If you're leery of it, you can leave it out, but there's really no need to be concerned about it.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 12:12AM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

I have no fear of a little dairy getting in my compost, I wouldn't worry about that, or a little oil either, assuming it's vegetable oil used in cooking or on food. We compost tissues, but we hardly use any paper towels. We have been using the same roll of paper towels for about 4 years now. No kidding.

We have a huge pile of clean rags we keep under the sink. When dirty, they go in a 5 gallon bucket in the garage (draped over the side to dry out first if wet) and when it is full we wash them. And the ones that are cotton, you can compost those, too, when they get really shredded. We use old towels and washcloths and old worn out clothing. So you might consider that option as well, to cut down on buying so many paper towels. But meanwhile, compost away!

Marcia

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 12:22AM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

When people say don't compost dairy or grease, they mean much, much, much larger quantities than what you can wipe up with a paper towel. Relax. Your compost pile can handle just about anything you can throw at it, as long as it came from a plant, even if it was bleached.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:39AM
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ryanzone7(z7MD)

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    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 6:49AM
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terrene(5b MA)

IALBTC??

I compost many paper products - paper towels, napkins, paper plates, tissues, brown paper bags, white or brown, doesn't matter. I even compost those sensitive financial papers, and they're the only thing I bother ripping up or "shredding" beforehand.

Although I always use vegetable oil for cooking, I don't worry about bits of animal grease or other products that get mixed in. For example, I'll cook bacon in the microwave on a brown paper bag with a paper towel on top to absorb the grease, then when it's done the paper stuff goes into the compost bucket.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 8:02AM
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bpgreen(5UT)

"IALBTC??"

It All Leads Back To Compost.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 10:13AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

If you are concerned, You can get paper towels that have not been bleached...and made from recycled paper. Look for seventh generation products at the store...

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 10:35AM
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dab07

You know, I SHOULD use 7th Gen. (or other unbleached) paper products -- I don't know why I haven't already been doing that! I've bee using Seventh Gen. laundry liquid for years and love it.

Thanks for the inspiration!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 11:27PM
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