Is Wax Paper Compostable and Biodegradable?

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Wax paper, also known as waxed paper, is a paper coated with wax on both sides. The wax used can be made from vegetable oil or petroleum-based paraffin

It is useful for many kitchen applicants, among other things it is used for food wrapping because of its moisture resistance that can prevent food from being soggy. Apart from that, wax paper is also beneficial for some baking purposes without any heating procedure.

It is not only functional for kitchen applicants but also functional for many other things like line drawers to prevent dirt, fast funnel, dusting the dust off, unstuck the zipper, cleaner for a can opener, microwave protector, and so on.

Is Wax Paper Compostable?

Understanding the kind of materials that are used for the coating of the paper is crucial. Generally, waxed paper is either coated with soybean-based oil or paraffin-based oil.

Soybean oil waxed paper is compostable as soyabean oil is considered organic, even though it takes a considerable period because as organic as it is, it is still wax. The microbes will find difficulties in digesting it hence more time to decompose.

On the other hand, petroleum-based or paraffin oil is inorganic and not fascinating for composting. Therefore wax paper that is coated with paraffin does not decompose. Also, many producers also add chlorine and bleach during the waxed paper process with paraffin oil.

Furthermore, a recent research done by EuroWaxPack which highlights a broad spectrum of wax paper shows that a substantial batch is technically compostable. 

In conclusion, basically to determine whether or not the wax paper is compostable will depend on its material that is used to coat the paper. When it is using soybean wax or vegetable oil, then yes, it is okay to composite. Even though it is hard for microbes to digest it.

Meanwhile, when it is coated with petroleum-based paraffin it is not compostable. If you want to compost wax paper then use the paper which is coated with organic wax.

Also read: Is Wax Paper Recyclable?

Is Wax Paper Biodegradable?

Waxed papers are not only functional, but it also offers some environmental benefits which make it interesting especially for eco-friendly wrapping alternatives.

Some waxed papers are naturally and biologically biodegradable. Soybean oil or vegetable oil-based wax papers could take about 2 weeks to 1 month to decompose. Following research done by EuroWaxPack, the waxed paper used achieves the 90% proportionate biodegradability conditions of EN 12432. 

Furthermore, in 2012, the French Organization of Microapp received an OK compost license of Vincotte. It gets the license for its meat and cheese wrap material which is coated with soybean oil-based wax paper which is organic. Thus, it can be concluded that most of the waxed papers are biodegradable.

Can you compost wax paper? 

For the waxed paper that is used soybean wax as its coating, of course, you can compost it because it is organic. Even though it is decomposable, it will hard for microbes to digest it.

The same goes with wax paper that is coated with vegetable oil, this waxed paper is also decomposable. Then again, the microbes will find it difficult to digest it.

Meanwhile, when the waxed paper is coated with petroleum-based paraffin, you can’t compost it because it is inorganic and decomposable. 

However, if you are in doubt whether or not you can compost your waxed paper, how about you try to lessen the usage of this particular paper. For example, you could start to throw away your waxed paper and in return change it instead with cellulose bag which is could absolutely decompose around 1 month to 3 months. This kind of paper bag is biodegradable because it is organic and not made from petroleum. 

Another way that you could do to lessen the use of waxed paper is by reusing them. Thus, instead of keep buying the new one, you should just reuse your old waxed paper. Specifically, when you just use them for baking some sugar cookies or making fluffy and fudgy treats. You just need to clean off the leftover sugar or flour on your waxed paper with a wet tissue, damp cloth or even paper towel. Then, you could reuse it whenever you want.  

Another piece of advice for you is that, if you are really into decomposing your wastes, you need to make sure the types of your waste, so you don’t have to ruin your batch of composting materials just because you misunderstood the nature of your waste.

Therefore, when your waste is waxed paper and you cannot really tell, whether it is made of soybean oil-based or petroleum-based, you should definitely throw it away to your trash can and do not ever throw it to your compostable waste bin, because I’m pretty sure you don’t want to damage your batch of compost.  

How long does it take for wax paper to biodegrade?

When using a waxed paper that is coated with organic wax such as soybean oil-based wax and vegetable oil wax, it will need approximately 2 to 6 weeks in the landfill to fully decompose. 

Meanwhile, when using a petroleum-based or paraffin oil based coated waxed paper, it will need a lot of time to fully biodegrade. Given the fact it is inorganic and cannot be decomposed or recycled, I think it might need a thousand years to completely biodegrade.

To conclude, how long a waxed paper will take to biodegrade largely depends on the material with which it was made.

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