Paper towels are often seen as a recyclable product. They are made of paper, after all. Yet, soiled paper towels are only suitable for recycling as food waste - not paper waste.
Paper towels used to clean up spills or wipe down counters, are contaminated with oils and other materials that can't be removed during the recycling process.
When paper is recycled, it is pulped and the paper towel fibres are separated from the rest of the paper. If there is food residue on the paper towel, it can contaminate the paper pulp. This makes it unsuitable for recycling.
Soiled paper towels should be disposed of in the general or food waste bin (check with your local compost centre), not the paper recycling bin.
Although paper towels are not recyclable, there are some alternative methods for cleaning up spills that can be as effective. For example, you can use a microfibre cloth to clean up spills and to clean surfaces. These also reduce the need for cleaning chemicals. Click to find out How microfibre cloths work?
Microfibre cloths have many benefits over paper towels. Including being more absorbent, re-usable and durable. Using commercial grade microfibre cloths can help reduce your environmental impact. They can be washed hundreds of times.