Can You Recycle Parchment Paper?

Parchment paper with cookies on topParchment paper can be a baker’s best friend: A great way to keep your oven tray clean when you cook and prevents your baked goods from sticking. But can you recycle parchment paper?

You can definitely reuse it and it is cheaper and easier to find than silicone baking sheets.

A lot of people believe it is also eco-friendlier than silicone baking sheets.  Since it is made out of paper, you’d think it would be simple enough to recycle.

Can you recycle parchment paper?

This question is a tricky one to answer. Parchment paper is made out of paper with a very thin layer of silicone on top.  This prevents whatever you bake from sticking and making a mess out of your baking tray.

What this means is that both layers are hard to separate. This makes parchment paper really difficult to recycle.

All in all, you shouldn’t put parchment paper in your paper recycling bin, even if it is clean.

What about composting? It seems that the silicone layer that is on parchment paper might severely damage the quality of your compost.

While there are no studies that confirm or disprove if this type of paper is OK in your compost bin, we would still strongly discourage you from discarding it there. If you do, you might ruin the whole compost batch!

Do not risk it: put it in the trash. You can always compost any cookie crumbs or burnt bits of whatever you cook!

However, there is a silver lining: you can reuse parchment paper.

As long as it is not dirty or burnt, you can reuse it several times. However, you should discard it as soon as possible if it starts to brown: burnt or overly used paper can become structurally damaged. This means it can crumble or disintegrate during cooking, dirtying and damaging your baking goods, while also lowering their quality.

To summarize

All in all, can you recycle parchment paper? No, parchment paper is not recyclable: it doesn’t matter if it is clean or dirty.

Do not put it in the paper recycling bin. In addition, while we aren’t sure if this type of paper is compostable, we would discourage you from putting it in the compost bin.

If you worry about the eco-friendliness of parchment paper, we would recommend you invest in a silicone baking mat instead.

While they are also made out of silicone, they have no other components. This means you can recycle them easily.  Not to mention that you can use them numerous times: they are sturdier, last longer and produce less waste.

High quality ones that will last you for years are easy to find online, so we would encourage you to give them a try!