Is Kleenex Compostable? (And Biodegradable?)

Whether you’re a lover of skincare routines or a household member, there are high chances that you’ve used Kleenex products before. They are comfortable and easily accessible tissues that households often rely on. Although it is essentially a brand for paper-based products, you’re probably more familiar with their soft facial towels which are also excellent for removing makeup.

Waste disposal has become much easier since the movement for sustainable living began. Composting is reserved for household biodegradable waste, and you can do it without special skills.

Of course, all organic matter can be composted. But the compost pile is sometimes better off when you recycle or reuse some materials instead of adding them to your compost mix. Do you wonder if you can compost Kleenex? Well, this blog post will explore the conditions for disposing of this indispensable household material, so don’t go anywhere!

Can Kleenex Go in Compost?

Kleenex is an essential part of household supplies. Whether you rely on the soft facial tissues because of your skincare routine or reserve it for convenience, you’ll certainly consume your fair share of Kleenex.

Most household waste that’s biodegradable can go in the compost. However, there’s uncertainty about composting Kleenex because although it’s made from paper, the manufacturers have engineered it to be more resistant than conventional toilet paper.

Well, you’re not wrong, but we can’t compost Kleenex because it’s unhygienic. If you’re not running hot compost in your home, it’s best to dispose of your Kleenex some other way.

This is because of the unsanitary use-cases for this product. You’re either holding it in unclean hands, using it to wipe your nose, face, or bum, or bringing it with contact with your bodily fluids.

A hot compost would permanently paralyze the pathogens that accumulate in this mixture. Because hot composting is heat-intensive, it kills bacteria and ensures that all materials in the compost pile are safe for soil and plant use.

However, the same cannot be said about cold composting. Although heat is also indispensable in cold composting, this technique only relies on the energy from the sun. It’s not nearly as potent as driving a heated pitchfork through the middle of a compost pile, so it’ll barely harm pathogens present in this mix.

Cold composting is the more common option for the average household because it’s easier to maintain. Hot composting is slightly more challenging but is the only condition that destroys harmful bacteria.

You must expose the Kleenex to a temperature no less than 120°F to kill and prevent the spread of pathogens because applying this tainted compost mix to your plants and soil will undoubtedly make them unhealthy, the opposite of what you wanted.

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So, Kleenex can go in the compost. However, it’s best to avoid putting it in a cold one because this facility lacks the required temperature to eliminate harmful organisms. In the same vein, composting any material that’s contacted our bodily fluids isn’t hygienic, so even commercial composting facilities will turn down used Kleenex.

While it seems like composting used Kleenex is an environmentally friendly waste disposal method, it only spreads harmful bacteria from compost mix to soil to plants.

Is Kleenex Biodegradable?

Manufactured products have different effects on the environment during decomposition. Biodegradable materials are best for many reasons, particularly reducing the impact of our existence on the environment.

Manufacturing requires the consumption of a considerable portion of resources, natural and otherwise. For instance, producing Kleenex requires cutting down trees to extract cellulose fibers.

This is deforestation, and even though there are claims that afforestation occurs simultaneously, it doesn’t make up for the period trees require for full maturity.

While we cannot cease the consumption and utility of some items, we believe it’s more environmentally acceptable if their manufacturing and biodegradation processes have less harmful effects.

If you can dispose of material without harming the environment, it may be biodegradable. This means it’ll break down within a short period, usually less than a year. It doesn’t need external assistance for this feat because nature has provided all the conditions required for biodegradation.

Sustainable living is no longer optional because of the state of the environment, so it’s essential to learn about the biodegradability of the materials we use. Unlike biodegradable materials, non-biodegradable ones don’t break down fast. They spend a long time in the environment, slowly decomposing.

In the process, they release toxic elements into the atmosphere and spoil. Some non-biodegradable materials never really go away – for instance, plastic doesn’t completely break down. Instead, it leaves microplastics behind.

Now, your ability to differentiate between these two materials will help you make better choices for the environment. The general rule of thumb is that a product is biodegradable if made with natural resources. 

Kleenex is essentially a branded toilet paper, making it a biodegradable material. As such, when microbes break it down, the only impact it’ll have on the environment will be positive. It’s made from biodegradable cellulose fibers which you can throw in the bin without compromising the environment’s safety.

These cellulose fibers are present everywhere in nature. It’s an integral part of plant cell walls, and microorganisms only rely on it for nutrition. Since this material is naturally occurring, microbes will break it down fast.

The difference between biodegradation and composting is the breakdown process. For biodegradable materials, deterioration occurs over time while composting provides a controlled environment to hasten decomposition.

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Essentially, biodegradable materials break down naturally, at the mercy of the weather, time, oxygen, heat, and microorganisms. The period varies too; it can take weeks, centuries, and even longer.

Now, Kleenex is biodegradable because of the material it’s made from. It’s like toilet paper which takes five weeks to break down. So, it’s only natural for Kleenex to also biodegrade in that period.

Is Used Kleenex Recyclable?

Most of the materials we use are recyclable, reducing our consumption of natural and non-natural resources. Manufacturing processes are typically rigorous and rely on a significant consumption of fossil fuels.

Constant consumption of our resources without replenishing them will result significantly deplete them. That’s why manufacturers produce recyclable materials – to reuse resources instead of relying on a new supply.

This method is beneficial to every party involved – the manufacturers cut back on production cost, consumers purchase the items at cheaper prices, and the environment catches a break from constant manufacturing processes.

Recycling is one of the three “R’s” of sustainability. We must learn to reduce, reuse, and recycle, but not all our materials are recyclable. However, thanks to biodegradation and composting, disposing of our waste will not negatively affect the environment.

Now, although many companies make conscious efforts to produce recyclable items, some products just aren’t cut out for this waste disposal method. So, is Kleenex recyclable?

Since 1924, the world has been enjoying Kleenex facial tissues. By the way, it was originally invented for removing cold cream. Then, it became even more famous when Hollywood stars started purchasing them to remove their makeup.

Undeniably, we’ve burnt through an incredible amount of Kleenex. Unfortunately, we cannot recycle it just yet because the fibers it’s made from are too lightweight. Just like toilet paper, paper towels, and tissue paper, most recycling centers will turn down Kleenex.

Thankfully, it’s a biodegradable material, so throwing it in the garbage will leave no negative environmental impact. It’ll break down in five weeks or less, so you needn’t worry about the landfills becoming fuller.

Can Kleenex Boxes be Recycled?

Considering that millions of people purchase Kleenex boxes, you may wonder how its disposal affects the environment.

Kleenex boxes are made of cardboard and plastic bits. The colorful designs on each box is certainly appealing, but what effect does it have on the environment? If this item is recyclable, that’s a win-win for everyone.

The plastic piece won’t harm the environment because it doesn’t end up in a landfill. The cardboard boxes will be recycled and made into newer boxes, and less trees will be cut down.

Kleenex boxes are built to make it easier to pull out a tissue. Hence, they have a poly insert attached, which is why we can’t just throw them in the garbage. Otherwise, the plastic component will continuously affect the environment – releasing toxic gases while decomposing, shedding equally harmful substances like microplastics, or even ending in our water bodies.

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Considering how long-standing Kleenex is, it’s little wonder they have established a recycling program for their boxes. This makes it easier for uniform disposal while reducing the strain of our existence on the environment.

Indeed, you can recycle Kleenex boxes. Inquire at your local recycling center to discover if it’s acceptable there. There are high chances that it is, but you can equally search for a recycling company that accepts this material.

To avoid filling up our landfills, let’s dispose of waste like Kleenex boxes appropriately.

Can You Flush Kleenex Down the Toilet?

Kleenex utility is unlimited – it’s pliable tissue that you can use anywhere, including the restroom. Statistics have recently shown that in the last two years, 170 million-plus Americans used this product. It’s supple and feels good on the skin, but the bane is its disposal method. Can you flush Kleenex down the drain?

Before we explain the process that occurs when you flush Kleenex down the drain, let’s explore what it’s made of. Most notably, the manufacturer’s website claims it’s made with biodegradable cellulose fiber.

They’ve been fortified to prevent them from tearing easily, so flushing a Kleenex down the drain as you would do with toilet paper won’t produce the same result.

It’s not uncommon to flush your Kleenex now and then. Some people do it all the time, so let’s consider the environmental impacts.

First, toilet paper and facial tissues share an apparent resemblance – they’re both white, pliable, and made from paper. However, the former has been designed to break down faster for obvious reasons.

When you throw your used Kleenex down the toilet, it’ll clog pipes on its way to the sewage system. Considering the whopping statistics of people who rely on Kleenex, if there are no uniform and environmentally safe methods of disposing of this item, it can put an unsettling pressure on the environment. 

Conclusion

Kleenex undoubtedly offers us comfort. It also helps that it’s available in a well-packaged container that makes it convenient for us to utilize this product anywhere.

But again, sustainable living entails looking beyond the services and comfort a product offers and considering the effects it has on the environment instead. This blog post has explored the diverse use-cases and disposal options for Kleenex, but the most suitable and environmentally conscious one is to simply throw it in the trash.

Since it biodegrades, the landfills won’t become filled up because of our high consumption. If anything, the facial tissues will break down and provide organic matter to the soil.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.