If you are looking to recycle your parchment paper, the question may come to your mind: is parchment paper compostable and biodegradable?
What does biodegradable mean?
When we say “is paper biodegradable?”, we mean that it is capable of organic degradation. Bacteria and other living organisms begin the process of decomposition into biodegradable substances, avoiding environmental pollution.
Biodegradability has no set of criteria to measure, and there is no universal definition of what makes something biodegradable. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has developed some guidelines and sued companies that use the lack of a specific definition to mislead customers.
Currently, the FTC guidelines state that all products must completely degrade and decompose “within a reasonably short period of time” after disposal. Proposals to clarify the time period are currently under development. The estimated time scale is less than a year after disposal for complete decomposition.
The FTC also states that items intended for landfill, recycling, or incineration should not be called biodegradable, as decomposition is likely to take more than a year. Garbage in landfills decomposes much more slowly than when exposed to the elements. This is because not much sunlight, moisture, or air comes into contact with most of the debris.
There is also an organization called BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute). Their job is to educate the general public and large corporations about biodegradability and composting. If the parchment paper compostable and biodegradable, the BPI certification will be shown on the label.
What does compostable mean?
When we talk about compostable products, we mean things that break down into natural substances in the compost heap without leaving toxic materials in the ground. In cases where biodegradable labels do not have a specified shelf life, parchment paper compostable should degrade in about 180 days or less. This process can happen as quickly as 60 days under the right conditions.
There are strict laws to ensure that consumers do not mis-sell products that are falsely certified as compostable in the US. The American Standard for Testing and Materials (ASTM) tests various products to ensure that manufacturer claims are valid.
For compostable materials, pay attention to the words “complies with ASTM-D6400” or “ASTM-6868”. Some manufacturers also label their products as compostable.
Is parchment paper biodegradable?
You should be asking “Is Parchment Paper recyclable?“. Yes, it is biodegradable, but not all parchment paper is biodegradable. Bleached parchment paper can be biodegradable, but it has some health issues. Unbleached parchment paper biodegrade, and that is 100%.
Can you recycle parchment paper? Baking paper comes in two varieties: unbleached (brown, it can also be recycled parchment paper) and bleached (white). As you might expect, the unbleached baking paper has been treated with chlorine, whereas brown parchment paper has not.
Why is this a problem and is all paper biodegradable? Because when chlorine-bleached parchment paper is heated, there is a problem associated with leakage of a chemical known as dioxin.
Dioxins, linked to reproductive and developmental problems, damage the defense system, interfere with hormone production, and also cause cancer.
If you are looking for a more eco-friendly alternative, there are many companies that make reusable silicone sheets suitable for baking. They are usually sold in batch packs and can be reused.
These sheets are easy to clean and most are dishwasher safe, although this should be checked with individual manufacturers. They are oven safe at around 450 degrees Fahrenheit and eliminate the need for oil or disposable parchment paper.
You can buy them in any size and shape to suit your cooking needs. Some even have outlines stencilled in so your buns are the same size and come out consistently perfect.
Is parchment paper compostable?
Based on research, the answer to the question of whether parchment paper compostable is unclear. I haven’t found anything that strongly recommends composting parchment paper in a compost heap. But there are some food sources that say it can be composted.
Can you compost wax paper? According to a report from Montana State University, the wax paper does not decompose efficiently and you can find bits of it in a compostable pile. And the same university home and garden information centre said they don’t recommend composting parchment paper. You may be aware that it is coated with a non-stick material, such as parchment paper silicone. This makes it incapable of composting.
Although some companies claim that their parchment paper compostable. Let’s find out.
Can parchment paper be composted? You can compost parchment paper from other sources, but you will need the extra work. Although you know it’s not waxed and doesn’t compost any faster than waxed paper.
But you need to cut it into small pieces to speed up the composting process. You can leave it as a big piece, but you should be aware that it can decompose much more slowly than anything you compost.
There are companies like Raynolds, and their parchment paper compostable. You can easily find them online. Their parchment paper is FSC certified and compostable, unbleached, and chlorine-free. Reynold’s parchment paper is composted at commercial composting facilities. If possible, parchment paper is certified as compostable and can be composted at home.
So, can you compost parchment paper? You can try both and see which one suits you best. I found them on Amazon and they are a little cheaper. I’ll link them both below, you can check them out and choose the best one for you.
If you want to buy compostable and biodegradable parchment paper, check out this post on the best parchment paper. Where different types of parchment paper are listed, choose the one that suits you best.
Is it safe?
Unfortunately, while parchment paper compostable, whether unbleached or unbleached, is coated with silicone which makes it non-stick as well as heat and moisture resistant.
There is both low and high-quality silicone on the market. You should look for better quality silicone, such as medical silicone or at least food-grade silicone. These silicones are less likely to contain chemicals or toxins that can leach out of them.
But there is some concern that high temperatures can cause not only the silicone to leach out but also the additives and fillers used to make other products, such as silicone molds. Basically, its cooking is the way to go with our food.
Which type of parchment paper you should use depends on personal preference.
If you are like me and want to reduce the number of chemicals you are exposed to on a daily basis. Greasing
baking trays and using old unbleached baking paper where necessary may be the right solution.
You should use unbleached paper. I have found unbleached parchment paper with Outside Gourmet non-stick coating. Which is also compostable, so if you can stick it in the compost bin with no problem.
A parchment paper compostable for 100%, and renewable, recyclable, biodegradable. It doesn’t stick, so no food sticks to it. No fat or oil is needed for healthy cooking. It’s safe to use in the freezer and oven at temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you don’t have it in your kitchen, you can use a parchment paper substitute, or if you want to use wax paper, you can check this article, parchment paper, or wax paper.