Is Tissue Paper Recyclable? (And Is It Compostable?)

There are many items we own and find very useful. However, one item we cannot do without is tissue paper. We have tissue papers in our rooms, our bathrooms, our bags, our cars, our offices, almost everywhere. They always come in handy, and we will always have use for them. Have you tried imagining life without tissue papers?

Tissue papers come in different colors, sizes, and packages; there are different types of tissue papers. For example, you have toilet paper, paper napkins, facial tissue, paper towels, and wrapping tissue and these different types of tissue papers have different uses. Therefore, you cannot use one for another function.

Tissue papers have been in use since the second century BC. It was used for padding and wrapping materials. With the advent of tissue paper, there has been a complete turnaround in our habits. The old habit of using a piece of cloth to clean your face has been replaced with tissue paper.

However, we have a major concern. Tissue paper has become part of the items everyone owns. There has been an increase in the number of tissue papers purchased recently. At the start of the pandemic, many stores complained of tissue papers being purchased. So, with the increase in the number of tissue papers produced to meet up demand, does it impact the environment?

Can You Recycle Tissue Paper?

With the increase in the demand for tissue papers globally within the last few years, manufacturers have tried as much as possible to meet up with the demand while ensuring to make them meet the customers’ needs at reasonable prices. However, this explosion in demand for tissue paper has increased concerns over their disposal.

Of course, you can recycle tissue paper. Tissue paper is produced from organic products. It is produced from paper pulp, obtained from wood. So tissue paper is recyclable like all papers, and it can be repulped and created into a new form of paper.

Although tissue paper is recyclable, it has a very low fiber content compared to other types of paper. This feature is why tissue paper is very difficult to recycle and yields less recycled than other papers. So, many recycling companies refuse to accept tissue paper because it is very difficult to find buyers to pay for the recycled products.

Most tissue papers are produced from recycled paper, so they have often gone through the recycling process. Hence, the reason for tissue papers having low fiber content. Trying to recycle tissue papers will only result in them having a more reduced fiber content making them unusable.

Another reason tissue paper is hardly recycled is the risk of contaminating other recyclables. Used tissue papers are usually smothered with grease, food, dirt, and even bodily fluids. These contaminants can affect other items to be recycled.

Recycling facilities suspend paper in water before pressing them into sheets to dry out. This is the first recycling process; the contaminants on used tissue papers can ruin the whole recyclables by showing up as holes or spots.

The process of recycling tissue paper can also be extremely unpleasant for recyclers who have first to sort it out. In addition, the used tissue papers can be disgusting, and no one wants to come in contact with the unpleasant waste with tissue papers.

Is Tissue Paper Compostable?

Compost materials are products that biodegrade. Microorganisms can break them down. As a result, they can decay; after they decay, they become compost or fertilizer for the soil. When compostable materials are heaped on each other in a compost site, they decay and fertilize the soil with time.

Yes, tissue paper is compostable. The interesting thing is that tissue paper can be composted both in compost facilities and at home. This is because tissue paper absorbs the excess moisture bioplastics and food waste generates.

By absorbing the excess moisture generated by food wastes and bioplastics, tissue paper’s composting process or disintegration rate is increased. Thus, composting tissue paper is an effective way of curbing environmental pollution.

However, when additives are added during tissue paper production, the composting process will take longer than usual. Environmental factors like air, exposure to light, and humidity, are also important in composting tissue papers.

You will notice that most tissue papers are wrapped in plastic. When you dispose of the plastic wrap, it takes a very long time for it to decompose. As a result, plastic wraps of tissue papers can end up not biodegrading or breaking down into their chemical forms for a very long time. In the end, it clogs up the landfills and litters the environment long after the tissue paper has decomposed.

Nevertheless, to ensure the full decomposition of tissue papers, ensure no glitter, foil, or shiny coating attached to the tissue paper. These can act as toxins; they can slow up the decomposition process of the tissue paper and may not decompose after a long time.

The best thing you can do is to ensure all tissue you purchase is biodegradable. You would be protecting and enriching the environment because these tissue papers are compostable.

Is Tissue Paper Biodegradable?

Biodegradable products are materials that can be broken down easily by microorganisms and bacteria. So, you can see that nature has a way of taking care of itself. However, our activities pose a threat to the safety of our environment. So, is tissue paper biodegradable?

Yes, tissue paper is biodegradable. Tissue paper is produced from paper pulp, which is gotten from wood. These are all organic, so they can be broken down by degradation agents (bacteria and microorganisms.)

However, the process of degradation of tissue paper varies. Remember, there are different types of tissue paper, and they are all produced from different materials. Therefore, raw materials play an important role in the degradation process of tissue papers.

If the tissue paper is covered with other materials, it might not biodegrade, especially if it is not made from organic products. So, if you have tissue paper wrapped in plastic, it will not degrade because of the plastic. The chemicals in the plastic repel the microorganisms that would have broken down the tissue paper.

Tissue paper contains cellulose because it is produced from woods which are very high in cellulose content. There are enzymes called cellulases, and they break down cellulose; laccases enzymes break down lignin. These two enzymes are present in microorganisms making it easy to break down organic products.

How Long Does Tissue Paper Take To Decompose?

When you look at the whole process of producing tissue papers, from sourcing from raw materials to the actual production, you cannot help but wonder if the whole process is not damaging our environment. One way we can try to protect the environment is to produce and use compostable and biodegradable products.

Tissue papers are compostable and biodegradable, but how long will it take for a tissue paper to decompose fully.

On average, it takes about one month (30 days) for tissue to decompose. However, it can take a longer time, and it depends on some factors. The following factors determine how long it will take for tissue paper to decompose: the thickness of the tissue paper, the weather conditions it is exposed to, and the amount of water available.

It will take a thin tissue paper less time to decompose than a thick one. This is because microorganisms can easily break down the former. Remember we said tissue paper absorbs moisture generated from other waste materials, and this quickens the decomposition. So, if there is inadequate water available, it will take a long time for tissue paper to decompose.

Weather conditions also play an important role in the decomposition process of tissue paper. If the temperature drops below the freezing point, the tissue paper will not decompose. For tissue paper to decompose, heat is required.

If you want to decompose tissue paper at home, ensure you do these to quicken the decomposition process. Add items like bread, banana peels, and strawberries, and it increases the rate of decomposition. In addition, these items attract microorganisms and worms to the tissue paper, thereby speeding up the decomposition process.

How To Dispose of Tissue Paper?

If you are concerned with the state of your environment, and you are ready to take action to save and protect it, the most appropriate way you would dispose of old and unwanted items would be to recycle them.

But in this case, it isn’t easy to recycle tissue paper, and you might be wondering if there are other ways you can dispose of them without harming the environment. We got you covered, and we will show you some fun ways you can dispose of tissue paper. They are environmentally friendly.

1. 3-D Party Designs

You would never have thought that the tissue paper you want to throw away can be used to create party decorations. First, you would need to draw out the design on a cardboard, cut it out.

Next, fold the tissue papers into rectangular shapes and cut them into flowers. Next, scrunch the flowers and hot glue them to the cardboard design. Finally, you have a 3-D design you can use for birthdays, weddings, and other ceremonies.

2. Tissue Paper Bowls

Rather than spending money to purchase tiny bowls, you can make yours at home using some tissue paper, white glue, a brush, and some balloons. First, inflate the balloon to the desired size, cut the tissue paper in circular forms.

Then, place a piece of tissue over the top of the balloon and brush on the white glue. Do that until the whole surface is covered. Add layers of tissue one by one, coat each layer with white glue.

Allow the tissue paper bowls to dry. After it is dried, deflate the balloon and release the air. After deflating the balloon, adjust the bowls to keep it in shape. You have yourself a tissue paper bowl.

3. Tissue Paper Wreath

To create a tissue paper wreath, you need some colored tissue paper, cardboard, a hot glue gun, red paint, and a white satin ribbon. First, cut about three to four-inch of tissue paper and crimp it.

Next, fold it in half twice, roll it up, and add dabs of hot glue at the beginning. Add more dabs of hot glue as your roll it up till you get to the end. Finally, you have a tissue paper rosette; repeat this about 30 times.

For the frame, cut the shape you desire on a newspaper, trace it out on the cardboard, and paint it with red paint. Start from the top of the frame and hot glue the rosette around the frame. You have designed a beautiful tissue paper wreath.


Everything we produce is to meet one or more needs. Nevertheless, we must also consider the state of the environment in all our activities. Recycling and upcycling old and wanted items are some of the ways we can protect our environment.

You will find some creative ways of disposing of tissue papers in this blog post. You would also see how tissue paper that we find useful affects the state of the environment. So if you have not been environmentally conscious, this is the time to be.

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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.