Is baking paper biodegradable? (3 properties of baking paper) 

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

  • What is the biodegradability possibility of baking paper?
  • Can baking paper be composted?
  • Can baking paper be recycled?
  • How can the baking paper be disposed of?
  • FAQs

Is baking paper biodegradable?

Baking paper is biodegradable because it is made from natural materials (cellulose from wood pulp). Wood pulp is extracted from trees which is a natural resource.

Since it is made from natural materials, it is possible to compost baking 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 baking 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 baking paper. 

What is the biodegradability possibility of baking paper? (3 properties of baking paper) 

Baking paper is biodegradable because of the use of natural materials in it. Baking paper is also called parchment paper or bakery paper. 

It is made from cellulose as it is a cellulose-based composite. Cellulose is extracted from nature and that is why parchment paper is regarded as biodegradable. Parchment paper may have the following properties:

  • Non-sticky 
  • Grease resistance 
  • Humidity resistance 

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. 

Biodegradation can be explained by getting an insight into two different terms that include bio and degradation. Bio means life and degradation means breakdown. 

Therefore, it can be said that biodegradation is the breakdown by the action of microbes. These microbes include bacteria, decomposers, and even fungi. 

However, it is not only about microbes. There are also other factors that are responsible for the biodegradation process. These include aeration, sunlight, temperature, and pressure. 

Biodegradation is often confused with related terminologies. These include degradation and composting. There are a lot of similarities but some subtle differences among these terminologies. 

The primary difference between biodegradation and degradation is that biodegradation is done by microbes whereas degradation is done through chemicals. 

Regarding biodegradation, there is a general rule of thumb that products made from natural materials are easily and readily biodegradable, whereas, products made from non-natural materials are not readily biodegradable. 

Therefore, there can be two types of waste based on biodegradability. These are: 

  • Biodegradable waste 
  • Non-biodegradable waste 

Examples of biodegradable waste include cotton, jute, rice, manure, sewage, bioplastics, and natural polymers (RNA, DNA, proteins). 

Examples of non-biodegradable waste include: 

  • Epoxy resin 
  • Synthetic polymers
  • Dyneema
  • PET
  • LDPE
  • Nylon
  • Hazardous waste
  • Electronic waste
  • Nuclear waste 

It is generally perceived that there are fervent health and environmental impacts of non-biodegradable waste. This is because such waste encapsulates the usage of fossil fuel derivatives.

Also, there is the use of harmful chemicals and synthetic products that may create many problems for the environment and health. 

Environmental problems include global warming, pollution, deforestation, and soil erosion. Medical complications may include cancer, developmental issues, hormonal disruption, and behavioural problems. 

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

Can baking paper be composted? 

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 baking paper: 

  • Baking paper must be rich in organic content
  • Baking paper must be biodegradable
  • Baking paper must be non-toxic
  • Baking paper must not damage the natural order (flora and fauna)

Baking paper checklists all these requirements and therefore it is concluded that it can be composted. 

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 baking paper is made from a natural material, it is possible to compost baking paper. The benefits of composting may be the following: 

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

Can baking paper be recycled?

As regards the question, yes it is possible to recycle baking paper. Baking paper is made from natural, non-toxic materials and there would not be any complications when baking 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:

  • Better waste management 
  • Better resource management
  • Improved employment opportunities
  • Decreased use of resources
  • Decreased GHG emissions and greenhouse effect
  • Economic benefits to the consumers and the producers
  • One of the best solutions to deal with non-biodegradable waste such as plastic or metal baking paper

When baking paper is recycled, it is not needed to be made from scratch. This means that the source is not given any unnecessary burden.

Baking paper is made from plant-based materials such as wood pulp or gum. When baking paper will be recycled then there would not be any burden on trees.

This will increase the possibility of decreased use of agrochemicals such as fertilisers or pesticides.

Also, when baking paper is recycled, half of the production processes would already have been done. This means that there will be decreased energy consumption. And because energy is mostly taken from fossil fuels, it would also mean that by recycling baking paper, there will be a decrease in GHG emissions.

This may mitigate the exacerbated environmental conditions and anomalies such as global warming, deforestation, and unprecedented weather patterns.

One factor that must be mentioned here is that recycling is regarded as one of the best solutions to deal with non-biodegradable waste such as plastics. 

This is mainly because when baking paper is recycled, its negative impacts on the people and the planet are deterred, if only ephemerally. 

However, you need to know where and how you can recycle baking paper to reap these given benefits.

baking paper may be recycled by either disposing of them in recycling bins or by transporting them to the nearest recycling centres. 

You may also contact the recycling centres via phone or email and request a pick-up. That way, you would not need to go beyond limits to get your baking paper recycled.

How can baking 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 baking 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

Baking paper is biodegradable because it is made from natural materials that include wood pulp. Wood pulp is extracted from trees which is a natural resource.

Since it is made from natural materials, it is possible to compost baking 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 baking 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 baking paper. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Is baking paper biodegradable?

What is the primary function of baking paper?

The primary function of baking paper is for cooking and baking. It can also be used for lining baking sheets and lining cake pans. 

What is the other name (s) for baking paper?

Baking paper is also called bakery paper or parchment paper. 

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 fibre with broiler litter and additives. Compost Science & Utilisation, 8(2).
  • Todini, Kristina. (May 08, 2022). Is parchment paper eco-friendly? Retrieved from: https://www.forkintheroad.co/is-parchment-paper-eco-friendly/#How_to_dispose_of_parchment_paper

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