Is crepe paper biodegradable? (5 benefits of composting crepe paper)

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

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

Is crepe paper biodegradable?

Crepe paper is biodegradable because it is made from natural materials that include wood pulp, gum, gelatin, starch, and glue. The primary use of crepe paper is in props and craft materials. However, it may be reused for a number of other applications too. 

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

What is the biodegradability possibility of crepe paper?

Crepe paper can be introduced as a paper that is coated with sizing and then creped into gathers. Sizing material mostly includes:

  • Gelatin
  • Glue
  • Gum
  • Starch

Crepe 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 PET or HDPE 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. 

To conclude, we have seen that there are two ways in which a substance is called non-biodegradable. One is the time taken by it to degrade and the other is its environmental impact.

Crepe paper is biodegradable from both perspectives of biodegradability. This is mainly because of the use of natural materials in crepe paper. 

Can crepe paper be composted? (5 benefits)

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 crepe paper is made from a natural material, it is possible to compost crepe 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 to compost crepe paper?

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

There are two approaches to that. One is that you can add crepe paper 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 crepe paper be recycled?

Consumers who are conscious of the biodegradability status of crepe paper also want to know if they can recycle crepe 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 crepe paper. Crepe paper is made from natural, non-toxic materials and there would not be any complications when crepe paper is processed in the recycling facilities.

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

Crepe paper is made from plant-based materials such as wood pulp or gum. When crepe 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 crepe 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 crepe 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 crepe 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 crepe paper to reap these given benefits.

How to?

Crepe 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 crepe paper recycled.

How can crepe paper be used and reused?

One better approach than recycling is the reusing of crepe paper. As per the 3R approach, there are three ways in which waste may be dealt with. These include: 

  • Reducing 
  • Reusing 
  • Recycling

As you may see, recycling is the least preferred option among the three. This is because even though recycling leads to a decreased use of resources, there are still resources being used. 

Below are some of the common ways in which tissue paper and crepe paper can be reused. This will save the environment from a lot of damage. This is mainly because when crepe paper is reused, there will be less cutting of trees (as trees are the major source of wood pulp). 

Trees are very important for our survival and thriving. When trees are there, there is the absorption of carbon dioxide and the provision of oxygen. This is called atmospheric cleansing because oxygen is very important for our survival. 

Also, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. When there is more carbon dioxide, there will be fervent implications of it. The result will be an increase in the overall global temperature. This is called global warming. 

How can crepe paper be reused?

Given these reasons, let us explore some of the uses and reuses of crepe paper:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Paper flowers
  • Sea glass vase
  • Birthday decorations
  • DIY projects 
  • Party flowers
  • Props
  • Used as a dye for Easter eggs or white cardstock
  • Streamers 

Conclusion

It is concluded that crepe paper is biodegradable because it is made from natural materials that include wood pulp, gum, gelatin, starch, and glue. The primary use of crepe paper is in props and craft materials. However, it may be reused for a number of other applications too. 

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

Frequently Asked Questions: Is crepe paper biodegradable?

What is the degradation time for crepe paper?

Tissue papers such as crepe paper may degrade in about one month. The exact duration may vary based on external conditions. 

Is crepe paper eco-friendly?

Yes, crepe 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).

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