Avid and dedicated composting enthusiasts seek to find every bit of organic material possible for their composters. We come across all sorts of items that may or may not be a good candidate for the composter. Some are pretty obvious, while others we aren’t sure of. Many people ask “Is wax paper compostable?” The answer to this question is “Maybe yes, maybe no”.
Did You Know? The practice of oiling paper to make it waterproof dates back to the Middle Ages. In the 19th Century, Beeswax was used to coat the paper.
If you are like me, you are seeking to compost any materials that are organic and biodegradable.
To determine if the wax paper is compostable, you have to know what wax is used to coat the paper. You also need to know what other chemicals, if any, are a component of wax paper.
The paper in wax paper is compostable material.
The wax is either soybean-based or one of two kinds of paraffin.
Soybean wax is organic, but it is a wax and is difficult for microbes to digest.
Paraffin is composed of either vegetable oil or petroleum based.
Vegetable oil is organic and is okay for composting. Again, it is hard for the microbes to digest wax.
Petroleum-based paraffin is definitely not desirable in the compost, nor ultimately in your garden.
In addition, some wax paper manufacturers use chlorine or bleach in the papermaking process.
Our Conclusion: Rather than doing extensive research into the composition of the wax paper you buy, avoid using wax paper in your compost.