Is acid free tissue paper biodegradable? (7 advantages of composting acid free tissue paper)

This article will shed light on the biodegradability aspect of acid free tissue paper. Other covered aspects would include:

  • What is the biodegradability status of acid free tissue paper?
  • Can acid free tissue paper be composted?
  • How can acid free tissues be composted?
  • Can acid free tissue paper be recycled?
  • How can acid free tissues be recycled?
  • How can acid free tissue paper be used and reused sustainably?
  • FAQs

Is acid free tissue paper biodegradable?

Acid-free tissue paper is biodegradable because it is made from natural materials that include wood pulp and alkalines such as calcium carbonate to neutralise the paper and increase its shelf life. 

Since it is made from natural materials, it is possible to compost acid free tissue paper. This compost can be used as a natural fertiliser that may bestow a couple of environmental benefits such as soil fertility and water conservation. 

It is also possible to recycle acid free tissue paper which is way better than just throwing it away because recycling would lead to better resource and waste management. Also, the burden on natural resources would also be reduced by the effective recycling of acid free tissue paper. 

What is the biodegradability possibility of acid free tissue paper?

As the name implies, acid free tissue paper is made in such a way that there is no amount of acidity in it. The pH of acid free neutral paper is more than 7. 

This is because of the use of natural ingredients along with alkalis such as calcium carbonate. These substances maintain the required pH which increases the shelf life of these tissue papers. 

Owing to these features, acid free tissue paper is best suited for the storage of items such as jewellery, crockery or antiques. As we have discussed the materials used to make acid-free tissue paper, we now can build a stance on its biodegradability. 

Acid free tissue paper is biodegradable because of the use of natural materials in it. Biodegradability can be defined as the breakdown of waste or materials by the action of microbes and enzymes. 

It is a natural process and nature‚Äôs own way of dealing with the waste problem. If there is no biodegradability, there will be harmful effects on the people and the planet. 

This is because the waste will cause pollution and will contaminate every aspect and factor associated with life and well-being. That is why we have the concept of biodegradability that is so liked and treasured by scientists and common people as well. 

However, not all materials are biodegradable. As the name suggests, biodegradation is the degradation caused by bio. Bio means life. It is caused by microbes such as bacteria, fungi, algae, et cetera. 

These microbes will only degrade the waste that they deem apt for their nutritional health. Such materials include plant waste, animal waste, manure et cetera. This waste is termed biodegradable waste. 

However, the microbes would not degrade the materials that have no nutritional content. As a result, such material will remain in the system for hundreds of years. Such waste is termed non-biodegradable waste. 

Perhaps the most common example of non-biodegradable waste is plastics. Plastics such as LDPE or PVC are fossil-based, synthetic polymers that are not found in nature but are designed or rather synthesised in the labs. 

Let us take an example of PET. PET is a synthetic polymer made from the derivatives of fossil fuels. That is why it may require more than 500 years to degrade. This means PET will remain in the environment or landfill settings for more than 500 years. 

However, this would not be the case for acid free tissue paper. It is estimated that acid free tissue paper may degrade in about 3-6 months depending on external conditions. 

Can acid free tissue paper be composted? (7 advantages)

As regards the disposal options, one of the safest and environmentally friendly approaches is to compost the waste. 

However, not all materials can be composted. There are certain conditions that have to be met to ensure they are suitable for the composting process. 

The necessary prerequisites of composting include: 

  • The product must be biodegradable
  • The product must be non-toxic
  • The product must be rich in organic content
  • The product must not emit harmful fumes
  • The product must not damage the natural order (flora and fauna)

Composting can be defined as the process of making compost from biodegradable waste. The result of composting is compost which may be defined as dead organic matter. Compost may be used as a natural fertiliser that may be a source to improve and augment the organic content of the soil. 

As we know that acid free tissue paper is made from a natural material, it is possible to compost acid free tissue paper. The benefits of composting may be the following: 

  • Conservation of water
  • Increase in organic content of the soil
  • Improvement in soil fertility 
  • Increase in the water retention ability of the soil 
  • Promotion of plant and crops growth 
  • Economical benefits 
  • Flourishing biodiversity

How can Acid free tissue be composted?

As we have discussed, there are a number of advantages offered with the composting of acid free tissue. The natural question that follows is how do you do it? 

There are two approaches to that. One is that you can add acid free tissue with other compostable waste and give it to composting centres. The rest will be done by the centres and there is nothing much you could do. 

However, if you want to do composting at home, there are certain steps that you may want to follow. Those are: 

  • Choose a location and compost bin. While doing that you need to ensure that the location is accessible and that the compost bin is of good quality. 
  • Make layers of composting material. There are two layers. One is of brown layer and the other is of green layer. Green layer is rich in nitrogen while the brown layer is rich in carbon. 
  • After making alternate layers, let the material decompose by the microbial action. The process may take several months 
  • Once the compost is ready, you may obtain it and use for the desired purposes 
  • While composting you need to ensure proper temperature and aeration (by frequent mixing) so that the process is optimised to the most 

Can acid free tissue paper be recycled?

Consumers who are conscious of the biodegradability status of acid free tissue paper also want to know if they can recycle acid free tissue paper. In many ways, recycling is a better alternative to disposal because it implies no waste at all.

As regards the question, yes it is possible to recycle acid free tissue paper. Acid free tissue paper is made from natural, non-toxic materials and there would not be any complications when acid free tissue paper is processed in the recycling facilities.

You may wonder why recycling is important. As regards this question, it can be answered in the following points:

  • Recycling acid free tissue paper leads to better waste management 
  • Recycling acid free tissue paper leads to better resource management
  • Recycling acid free tissue paper leads to improved employment opportunities
  • Recycling acid free tissue paper leads to decreased use of resources
  • Recycling acid free tissue paper leads to decreased GHG emissions and greenhouse effect
  • Recycling acid free tissue paper leads to economic benefits to the consumers and the producers
  • Recycling is regarded as one of the best solutions to deal with non-biodegradable waste such as plastic or metal acid free tissue paper

How to recycle acid free tissue?

You may either dump the acid free tissues in green-coloured dustbins intended for recyclable waste. If you want to go a step beyond then you can: 

  • Either schedule a pick-up appointment from the nearest recycling centre 
  • Drop your acid free tissues along with other recyclable waste to recycling centres yourself. There is not much that you can do extra

How can acid free tissue paper be disposed of?

As regards the disposal options, you first need to know what are the types of bins that are there. The responsibility of customers is to properly dispose of the tissue paper by putting them in properly labelled trash cans. 

Firstly, it must be said that before disposal, one needs to ensure that the containers can not be reused or recycled. If you think that it is better for you to dispose of containers, then you need to know in which dustbin should containers be thrown. 

As it stands out, there are three types of dustbins that are there. These are:

  • Green-coloured dustbins
  • Blue-coloured dustbins
  • Red-coloured dustbins 

We all know that red is the colour of danger. Red-coloured dustbins are reserved for hazardous waste such as chemical waste or waste from hospitals. You must certainly not use red-coloured dustbins to throw containers. However, if you have doubts that your container is contaminated in any way then you can go for this option. 

Green dustbins are used for biodegradable waste whereas blue dustbins are used for non-biodegradable waste. If we consider our case, then acid free tissue paper is both biodegradable and recyclable. 

It, now, depends on the consumer’s choice of the dustbin. Both the process of recycling and biodegradation are eco-friendly. However, recycling is better because it leads to zero waste generation along with other benefits covered. 

Further, consumers are also aptly encouraged to compost the tissue paper whenever possible because composting offers a number of benefits which are great for our environment. The most significant ones include use as natural fertilisers and water conservation prospects.

Conclusion

Acid free tissue paper is biodegradable because it is made from natural materials that include wood pulp and alkalines such as calcium carbonate to neutralise the paper and increase its shelf life. 

Since it is made from natural materials, it is possible to compost acid free tissue paper. This compost can be used as a natural fertiliser that may bestow a couple of environmental benefits such as soil fertility and water conservation. 

It is also possible to recycle acid free tissue paper which is way better than just throwing it away because recycling would lead to better resource and waste management. Also, the burden on natural resources would also be reduced by the effective recycling of acid free tissue paper. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Is acid free tissue paper biodegradable?

Why is acid free tissue paper considered better?

Acid free tissue paper is considered better because it has a longer shelf life than conventional tissue paper that may have a pH lower than 7 over time. 

Is acid free tissue paper eco-friendly?

Yes, acid free tissue paper is eco-friendly because it is natural while also being biodegradable and compostable. 

References

  • Beckline, M., Yujun, S., Eric, Z., & Kato, M. S. (2016). Paper consumption and environmental impact in an emerging economy. J. Energy, Environ. Chem. Eng, 1(1), 13-18.
  • Pommier, S., Llamas, A. M., & Lefebvre, X. (2010). Analysis of the outcome of shredding pretreatment on the anaerobic biodegradability of paper and cardboard materials. Bioresource Technology, 101(2), 463-468.
  • Vikman, M., Vartiainen, J., Tsitko, I., & Korhonen, P. (2015). Biodegradability and compostability of nanofibrillar cellulose-based products. Journal of Polymers and the Environment, 23(2), 206-215.
  • Ekinci, K., Keener, H. M., & Elwell, D. L. (2000). Composting short paper fiber with broiler litter and additives. Compost Science & Utilization, 8(2).
  • Spring Pack. Why use acid free tissue paper? Retrieved from: https://springpack.co.uk/why-use-acid-free-tissue-paper/

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