Are disposable paper plates recyclable?

Are disposable paper plates recyclable?

Disposable paper plates are popular because of their convenience, low price, easy storage... But many people believe that they are not environmentally friendly. Let's analyze this topic in the article below

Can paper plates be recycled?

Single-use paper plates are both recyclable and non-recyclable.
Recycled paper plates are paper plates used for handicrafts, are not contaminated with chemicals, do not contain plastic, wax, etc., and have a waterproof effect (for storing food).
Paper plates that cannot be recycled will contain layers of plastic and wax on the outside. In addition, paper plates used for food storage cannot be recycled because they are contaminated with grease, residue, and waste that the treatment process cannot separate.

are disposable plates recyclable

How to recycle paper plates?

Recycling single-use paper plates saves pulp resources, which means fewer trees are cut down each year. The process of recycling paper plates without contamination (food, chemicals, etc.) includes the following steps

Collect paper plates

Disposable paper plates are collected with other types of paper that need to be recycled and taken to the factory.


Clean paper plates that meet recycling standards will be separated.

Grind powder

This is the stage where paper plates are ground into pulp. This stage uses a lot of water and chemicals.


All pulp is filtered through a sieve, which again removes impurities.


At this stage, the various inks and adhesives that make up the paper plate are removed. However, this does not include grease. You will recall that you cannot recycle contaminated paper plates.


At this stage, the paper receives various chemicals to ensure it is white. Usually, hydrogen peroxide works.


At this stage, the clean pulp is rolled and dried, ready to be cut into sizes and shapes.

How to reuse paper plates

If the paper plates you use cannot be recycled, at least reusing them will help save environmental resources.
• Clean and reuse. If you buy thick paper plates and they are just a little dirty after use—for example, if you store dry food on them—you can clean them and reuse them.
• Craft projects. If you have clean paper plates, you can use them for a variety of craft projects.
• Used as packaging. A folded paper plate makes a handy little basket for storing cookies, muffins or other baked goods.

Can you compost paper plates?

If you have a compost pile at home, you can put some paper plates in it. Any discs labeled as "PLA" or "compostable" can be added to your compost pile. PLA (polylactic acid) is a bioplastic used to coat some paper plates and will decompose when composted.
Plastic-free plates can also be added to your compost pile. First, you may want to tear them into pieces and add them to the compost pile along with food waste or yard waste.

How long does it take for paper plates to decompose?

A paper plate takes about six months to decompose in the compost pile, and that's when it's not covered with wax or plastic.

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