Can you compost paper towels? Yes, But you need to learn so many things before composting paper towels. If you like to compost paper towels please read this article to the end. You can learn lots of things about composting paper towels.

Can You Compost Paper Towel

What do you know about paper towels?

Paper towels are simply a towel made from paper. It is very absorbent and disposable after one-time use. Paper towels absorb water due to their loose weave, which allows water to pass through the fibers even when it is not supposed to. They can be used for tasks like hand drying, wiping windows and other surfaces, dusting, and spill cleanup, much like regular towels. The Invention of paper towels can be considered an accident.

History of paper towels

In 1907, Scott Paper Company, (one of the leading toilet paper manufacturers in the United States) had to face a major loss due to a huge lot of thick paper rolls that could not be used to make toilet paper. The founder of the company, Arthur Scott, tried to solve the matter in order to reduce such a loss.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia had outbreaks of an epidemic in 1907. At that time, a Philadelphia teacher began to give soft papers to sick kids. Paper tissues were used in place of the usual cloth towels, which he believed to be spreading sickness. On the other hand, paper tissues degraded quickly and were simple to discard. Scott read this story from a tabloid article and he got the first ever idea for paper towels. Then he created the first paper towels with rejected paper rolls and now it has become an essential item in each and every household.

Can you compost paper towels?

The short answer is ‘yes’ but please wait and read till the end to find out what type of paper towels and what type of dirty paper towels that you can compost. You can definitely compost unused paper towels if you have a reason to do so. But you have to be well aware of the chemicals inside the paper towels. Some chemicals can alter the composting process because they can alter the growth of microorganisms.

In some cases, depending on how you use them, paper towels can be composted. It’s entirely okay to compost paper towels that have been used to clean up plant-based foods, water, or dirt. Paper towels that have been used to dry dishes or hands are excellent candidates for composting. Make sure you tear the paper towels into pieces before adding them into the compost bin because it can increase the rate of the composting process.

Can You Compost Paper Towel

Can you compost greasy paper towels?

You should not compost greasy paper towels. Paper towels with grease, oil, butter or other greasy substances should not be added to the compost bin. Greasy substances can remove air from the compost. Different types of bacteria can grow in the compost because of less air. They can compromise your compost and it can lead to the release of an unpleasant smell from the compost.

Another important tip is, that you should not add paper towels with cleaning products on them into the compost bin. The chemicals in cleaning products can affect the growth of microorganisms. Because of that, it can reduce the composting process and you will definitely have a bad result in no time.

Can you compost Bounty paper towels?

In 1965, a company named Procter & Gamble (P&G) which is situated in the USA made the popular brand of paper towels known as Bounty. Wood pulp, water, printing ink, water-based adhesives and conditioners are used to make Bounty paper towels. You can compost bounty paper towels. Bounty paper towels can be used in any type of compost system easily.

Can you compost Kirkland paper towels?

Kirkland Signature is a popular brand that operates under Costco Wholesale Corporation, which is American multinational cooperation. Costco is one of the largest retailers in the world. Just like Bounty paper towels, you can compost Kirkland paper towels. Additionally, turn them often because they have a tendency to retain moisture better than other paper goods.

Are Viva paper towels compostable?

Viva paper towels are made by Kimberly-Clark Corporation. It is an American global personal care company that mostly creates consumer goods made of paper. Viva paper towels are compostable like most other paper towels. But you have to obey the basic rules of composting as we mentioned above.

Can you compost white paper towels?

You should not add white paper towels to the compost bin. White paper towels have bleach on them. Bleach is a chemical that decomposes rather slowly in the composting process. Because of that, you will not have a better compost pile with using white paper towels in it.

Can You Compost Paper Towel

Can you compost bamboo paper towels?

Bamboo paper towels are made from bamboo. But you can’t use natural bamboo as it is; it should undergo a special kind of processing before use to make paper towels. A very important thing you need to know is that most bamboo paper towels are reusable. Because of that, you can wash it and reuse it several times before throwing it away in the trash. When compared with other paper towels, bamboo paper towels are more eco-friendly and economical because of their reusable capacity.

Bamboo paper towels are compostable. The most environmentally responsible approach to disposing of bamboo paper towels is to compost them. There shouldn’t be any substantial negative effects from composting bamboo paper towels.

What Paper towels are biodegradable?

Most of the time, paper towels are biodegradable. Wet paper towels will biodegrade fast because bacteria can grow on them easily. Most paper towels are thin and light, which makes them easy to biodegrade.

Bounty, Kirkland, Viva

As Bounty, Kirkland, and Viva paper towels are compostable, all of them are biodegradable. But decomposition time can vary according to their thickness and ingredients.

Bamboo paper towels

Bamboo paper towels are biodegradable.

Reel Paper Towels

One of the popular brands of biodegradable bamboo paper towels is Reel Paper towels. Reel Paper is a subscription-based, tree-free paper manufacturer that uses bamboo fibers to produce environmentally friendly toilet paper and paper towels. Reel Paper Bamboo Paper Towels have no dyes or inks. The reel can help you reduce your waste because they deliver items in recyclable, plastic-free boxes.

“Who Gives a Crap” paper towel

The brand “Who Gives a Crap” is making paper towels with bamboo and sugarcane. Their name is awkward, but the product is not. Their paper towels are biodegradable and free from ink, dyes and fragrances.

Reusable paper Towels

Most reusable paper towels are biodegradable. The brand Swedish Dishcloths founded in 1949, is a reusable paper towel manufacturer that uses plant-based cellulose and cotton to make paper towels. These paper towels are reusable and biodegradable.

Can dirty paper towels be composted?

Actually, it depends on what type of work that paper towels are used for. Let’s find out what type of dirty paper towels can be composted.

You can compost paper towels that you use to clean food, dirt, mud and water. If you have cleaned foods like meat, dairy foods, oils, grease and oily foods with paper towels, you should not add them to the compost bin. These types of foods can attract pests and different kinds of bacteria and will release bad odors from the compost.

Dirty paper towels with natural cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda can be composted. Don’t add dirty paper towels with paint, chemicals or cleaning products into the compost bin because it can be harmful to microorganisms and worms. 

If you clean dog waste or human waste with paper towels, don’t add them to the compost bin. They might have disease-causing germs on them. They may also eliminate microorganisms from the compost. Don’t add paper towels with your body fluids into the compost bin because they may carry contagious diseases into the environment.

How long do paper towels take to compost? 

It depends on the thickness of the paper towel, the growth of biodegradable bacteria in the compost, and the moisture level of the compost. Generally, it can take somewhere between 30 to 45 days to compost paper towels. You can increase the rate of the process by tearing up the paper towels before adding them into the compost bin and giving a precise amount of moisture into the compost.

Can You Compost Paper Towel

Recommended compostable paper towels

“Who gives a crap?”

As mentioned before, the brand “who gives a crap” is one of the best brands that make compostable paper towels.

Grove Co. Dish Cloth

Reusable sponge cloths are available from Grove Collaborative which you can add to the compost bin after use without hesitation. Cotton and biodegradable cellulose are used to make environmentally friendly paper towels. You will receive this product in plastic-free packaging.


As you can see above, reel paper towels are biodegradable and compostable.

Seventh-generation paper towels

They have been making 100% eco-friendly paper towels for almost thirty years. They are one of the leading companies in the world considering compostable paper towels.

Conclusion: Can you compost paper towels?

Most types of paper towels are biodegradable and compostable. The compatibility of a paper towel depends on how you use them. You can’t compost white paper towels. Most of the popular brands such as Bounty, Kirkland and Viva paper towels are compostable. You can compost bamboo paper towels and most types of reusable paper towels.

Credit to : CompostInstructions

Read Next : Does A Compost Bin Need A Bottom? (Answer Is Here)


Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Environment and Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. My mission is to help other. You can use this knowledge to enhance your life THE BEST environments you possibly can.

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