Rubbish Talk

4. What to do with Tissues, Paper Towels & Wet Wipes?

Paper towels, serviettes, tissues - Do they all go in the Green Bin? 
Yes, all paper towels, paper serviettes and paper tissues are a good source of carbon in the GREEN bins.
If paper towels have been used with cleaning chemicals they should be put in the RED bin. A good rule of thumb; If you wouldn’t want to grow your veges in the resulting compost, put it in the red bin.

Can we flush them?
No, only toilet paper. Anything else, including paper towels, can fairly easily cause blockages. Even if it says ‘flushable’ on the packaging, don’t flush! Our system isn’t made for anything but our excrements and toilet paper. Cotton buds seem to be the latest flushing trend , NO just NO

Wet wipes!
Any baby, makeup or wet wipes, regardless of their labelling around being biodegradable or compostable, go into the RED bin. The composters don’t want these, as they are a mix of paper and PLASTIC. The wastewater plant also cannot process these – they frequently cause blockages known as fatburgs! 

We of course, encourage reusable. Just wash and reuse! 

Anything else?
These can go in the GREEN bin too, to be turned into compost.

  • Shredded paper or cardboard
  • Fish and chip paper,
  • Plain cardboard pizza boxes,
  • Toilet roll cardboard inners

This is much more preferable to these carbon items going to landfill, where they barely break down at all – instead they “mummify” in the airless environment, giving off methane (a greenhouse gas).

What we don’t want to put in the green bin but goes in the RED bin:

  • ‘Compostable’ label
  • Bioware
  • Potato Plates
  • Cornstarch
  • Bioplastics/PLA (bags, coffee cups) 
  • Bamboo

Our green bins go to Living Earth to be turned into compost. Some of the reasons that Living Earth doesn’t want the above is because:

  • The products are made from GE materials, and Living Earth has a certified organic status that does not allow for these products
  • They do not break down quickly in their system and can leave chunks in the compost that when put on paddocks can potentially choke lifestock.
  • There is currently no standards in place in NZ to ensure that this stream can be composted.
  • The items are difficult to differentiate and often contaminate recycling
  • Unless you are prepared to compost yourself, or can return to the originator (some cafés offer this service) then these items MUST go to LANDFILL
  • If you do wish to compost them, then soaking them first can help, along with shredding.
  • Do not be fooled by ‘compostable’ products. Whatever it is made of, if it is single use, it is NOT sustainable. The only sustainable product is reusable.


Rubbish Talk