Is Burning Paper Bad for the Environment

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: September 3, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

A waste-free environment is critical, yet most of us hardly give it the commitment it deserves. 

With the increase in paper production, a huge amount of paper waste is now pilling up in our landfills. 

Many people believe that burning paper is the cheapest and easier way of getting rid of paper waste. 

But is burning paper bad for the environment? The simple answer is yes. 

Let’s get into more details and understand the best way you can dispose of paper properly. 

Is Burning Paper Bad for the Environment

Yes. Burning paper isn’t an eco-friendly practice as it causes air pollution. 

When you burn thrash, you put toxins and chemicals into the earth, air, and water around you.

When you burn paper, there’s a release of harmful gases like CO2 in the environment. 

Also, any leftover, mostly ash, may contain toxic residue that will be hazardous to soil and water.

Some best ways to dispose of paper are:

  • Recycling
  • Composting unbleached paper
  • Repurposing/Reuse 
  • Hire a disposal company

How Does Burning Paper Harm the Environment?

Every business generates an embarrassing ton of paper waste. 

In fact, paperwork is a day-to-day operation in the office. But what looks unkind is how they burn paper after it piles up.

Considering the risks burning papers poses to the atmosphere and health, it’s high time we adopt a strategic plan that helps us dispose of paper documents in an ethical and eco-friendly manner.

The amount of air pollutant emissions that result from burning assessment papers is a concern. Fast forward talk of:

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Nitrogen oxides

Nitrogen oxides include gases like nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide. Well known to inflame airways, Nitrogen dioxide increases respiratory infections as well.  

People with respiratory disorders and asthma suffer heavily when they breathe a large amount of nitrogen dioxide. 

The smoke can travel long distances and be bothersome to people, causing nausea, rashes, and headache. 

Again, the oxide traces contribute to the formation of acid rain. 

Whenever the rain infiltrates the soil, it leaches aluminum and other nutrients into lakes, streams, and oceans.

The aquatic animals and plants that are acidic-sensitive will suffer due to the high level of acidic water. 

For instance, fish eggs won’t hatch, leading to a decrease in the number of marine life.

Look for other ways like recycling paper rather than open burning.

Best Ways of Disposing of Paper – Burning an Exception

Now that you know burning isn’t a go-to solution, what should you do as an alternative? Here are numerous sustainable ways of getting rid of paper waste:

Recycling paper 

Recycling is the easiest way of addressing the whole issue of addressing paper. 

Environments think that it’s the most eco-friendly method, even though there are some downsides.

Although recycling paper shortens fibers, you can recycle paper between 5 to 10 times. 

Beyond that, the waste can be recycled into a paste, thus producing egg cartons and newspapers. 

Add them to your compost

Chlorine-free paper documents can be added to your compost file. 

But you’ll have to shred them into small sizes to increase their decomposition rate. 

Compost them along with other waste like coffee grounds and filters.

Make sure the paper is perfect for compositing, as some may contain chemicals. 

A good example is a bleached and glossy paper.

Hire a local disposal company

Many local businesses provide this service to local customers. 

While some will offer this for free, others will charge you a small collection fee. 


Reuse unwanted papers to clean windows. 

You can also use old papers to line your dresser, pantry, bathroom shelves, and cabinets. They’re easy to put. Other uses include:

Can You Burn Paper in Your Garden?

If it’s a must you burn paper, first off, check your local guidelines on what and what’s not acceptable in your area. 

Burning paper can disturb your neighbors. 

The smoke can be dangerous, especially on a windy day. 

The locals suffering from respiratory diseases like asthma will suffer the most once they inhale the fumes. 

Simply recycle or shred the confidential papers for composting. 


Burning paper could be one way of disposing of paper waste, but you could be risking the environment and public health. 

Gases like carbon dioxide are toxic. Look for other ways of addressing this – recycling is the best option.

Plates or Wash Dishes

Previous Post

Is It Better for the Environment to Use Paper Plates or Wash Dishes?

Next Post

Is Cork Biodegradable?

Is Cork Biodegradable?