Is Paper Biodegradable : What is it and How to Dispose of It

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: September 22, 2021
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Paper is a material that, when used correctly, can degrade or decompose. Meaning it will break down and turn into other materials over time produce less toxic materials than others.

However, if the paper isn’t disposed of properly, it negatively affects the environment.

And, what makes paper biodegradable material? Paper is made from 100 percent natural materials, mainly wood pulp, which is biodegradable. 

But like anything else, it takes to break down completely. 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what makes biodegradable paper different from regular paper and how to dispose of both types of paper safely and responsibly. 

In the end, there will be fewer to no adverse effects on the environment!

Is paper environmentally friendly?

Under the right conditions, paper can decompose quickly. This makes it an eco-friendly alternative to other materials like conventional plastic. 

It can decompose in your compost pile, too. But this depends on the type of paper and its disposal.

Paper made from wood (Plant Materials) is environmentally friendly because when you dispose of them, it will break down into other materials in no time without leaving any waste behind!

For the paper to decompose, it requires these conditions:

  • Oxygen
  • Rainfall
  • Humidity, and
  • heat

Regular papers are not always eco-friendly, though, as some types may take years to decompose. 

As a result, more trash ends up in landfills or oceans and impact the animal life. 

So What next? 

This garbage poses lots of challenges and harms Marine life too often than we would like.

Is paper terrible for the environment?

Most people believe that paper is a sustainable resource as it’s biodegradable, compostable, and great plastic alternative.

Plant Materials is the most common material used to make paper.

Generally, the paper doesn’t take up large amounts of space in the oceans or ground like its plastic counterparts, and it degrades in a matter of time, which is healthy for the environment.

However, some people believe using any material to make something like a cup may not always have sound effects on our planet. 

So they try their best to use reusable products which are also non toxic such as in place of paper cups, use stainless cups, Plastic free bottles, Glass straws.etc. 

These reusable items will last longer than regular Compostable plastic products ones, but if we all make our compost piles like this, there won’t be any waste left behind since everything would just get reused repeatedly.

In some instances, using paper can be harmful to the environment. Take, for example, the packaging industry sectors. 

The paper processing plants use chemicals alongside plant materials to produce paper. 

What Type Of Paper Is Biodegradable?

Many different types of paper are biodegradable. The most common types include:

  • Paper made from recycled materials: is not always recyclable. Still, it can be if the paper company has a recycling program in place and it’s using more than just one type of material to make their product like with regular printing papers (which are usually only 100% wood pulp).

So this means that you’ll need less raw material resources for making new products since there’s already been some used before by someone else who threw them away after first-time use too!

  • Paper towels: These types tend to degrade quickly, but they take lots of time to extract all the chemicals and other substances they contain.
  • Paper cups: These are made of different types, but the most common ones can take up to a year or more before breaking down, which is not suitable for our environment at all!
  • Newspapers, magazines, etc.: They’re only 100% wood pulp, so these will break apart in about six months on average.
  • Paper bags: These are a bit better, but they still take about six months to break down, which is not suitable for our environment at all!
  • Paper plates and cups, napkins, etc.: They’re usually only 100% wood pulp, so these will break down in around two years or more.
  • Photography Paper: This type of paper is also biodegradable, and it can break down in around three months or less.

The Environmental Impact Of Using Paper

The Environmental effect of paper production is a big concern for many people. 

The process of harvesting trees can have a negative impact the environment as it removes them permanently or reduces their ability to grow back quickly enough after being cut down.

The production also consumes large amounts of water that could otherwise go towards other uses such as drinking supplies – up to two liters per sheet are used during processing alone!.

This means there will always be more than one tree planted every time we use 100% recycled content because they take longer before becoming fully grown again.

In the US, paper mills prove to be one of the most significant contributors of water pollution simply because they throw away these chemical solutions back into the waters. 

These chemicals include;

  • Methanol
  • Toluene
  • Formaldehyde and others

The Best Way To Dispose Of Paper

To dispose of paper the right way, you need to make sure that it is not mixed with other materials such as food or liquids. 

You should also avoid putting paper in a landfill because this will take up space, and the decomposition process can be slower than average, taking years for some types of papers!

The best way would be to recycle it. Still, there are many different ways people do so, which means they all have pros & cons:

  • Shredding reduces volume by 50% while making them easier to recycle into new products;
  • Paper mills, which are facilities that recycle the material into new products.
  • Pulping – This is a process where wood chips and other types of waste materials (e.g., food) are mixed with water to be broken down together; this creates pulp from cellulose fibers found within trees or plants.

If done correctly, pulped papers could last longer before breaking apart while also being easier & cheaper when recycling compared against shredding degrees at home.

The result will then depend on what type it was made up of: if there were no contaminants added during production, you’d have high-quality fiberboard, but otherwise, they may not meet standards because some additives might make their way through as well!

  • composting: this is the process of breaking down organic materials by adding them to a pile and letting them decompose naturally. The result will be rich in nutrients so that you can use that compost on your garden or plants!
  • Recycle it: Paper can be recycled into new paper products, such as newspapers or cardboard.

This process starts with sorting the different types of papers (including recycling mixed materials like a newspaper) and then processing them separately.

There’s no need to worry if you’re not sure what type your product might fall under since there will always be someone who knows how to recycle these properly at local facilities near where people live!

The best way is to ask for help from a professional to make this happen! 

They’ll know exactly which ones are recyclable so they don’t end up being thrown away unnecessarily.

Can I Compost Paper at Home?

There are few points you need to understand before you compost paper at home.

The first point is that paper can’t be composted with other types of materials. 

This means you need to have a separate bin for your papers and then use the right kind, so it doesn’t contaminate anything else in there!

The second thing worth mentioning about this process, if done incorrectly or without care, will result in an unpleasant smell from where they are being stored!

Finally, an important tip is to make sure when adding new material into these bins (paper), always add dry leaves before wet ones!

Should the plan go well, then after 40 days, everything should break down nicely, leaving behind rich soil which could go back onto plants again. 

How Long Does It Take For Paper To Decompose

Ok, paper degrades faster than most materials we have on hand especially plastic waste 

Paper waste takes around 6 weeks before it breaks down completely. 

As long as there’s sunlight and oxygen, rest assured that it will return to earth as a valuable nutrient.

Recycling paper is the best idea as it saves space at landfill locations and sites. 

Again, this will allow a favorable environment because paper mills will reduce the use of virgin wood.


I hope you’ve learned a thing or two about paper. Paper is biodegradable, so it doesn’t damage the environment when disposed of properly. 

It can be recycled and used again for other purposes too! The best way to dispose of your paper is by recycling it. 

You could also compost it if that interests you more. 

If not, there are plenty of ways to recycle paper in your nearest recycling center.

Let me know what ideas you have on how to get rid of old papers like this one?

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