When you are working in the kitchen and use a paper towel, can you toss it into your compost or into your kitchen scrap reccycle container? The answer is yes…. sometimes!
If you are using regular paper towels, and they are only contaminated with water – such as used to dry produce or your hands – or with fruit or vegetable juices, go ahead and toss them right into your compost or kitchen scraps container.
However, if you use the paper towels for things like wiping up meat juices or used to clean the counters with a chemical kitchen cleaner, they will contaminate your compost, so they should be disposed of in the garbage. Same goes with paper towels used for an inadvertent kitchen cut on your hand or wiping up anything unsanitary.
Do be aware that some paper towels – such as some types of shop towels – cannot be composted. If you are unsure, check the packaging, as it should state whether it is compostable or not, or you can contact the manufacturer if it doesn’t say.