Paper Napkins

Trash Organics

Depending on your city, food-soiled napkins may be allowed in the organics container.

Acceptable: Athens prefers paper napkins that are unbleached and made from recycled content.

Not Acceptable: Paper napkins collected from bathrooms or soiled with cleaning chemicals, bio-solids, or grease/oil should always be placed in the trash.

Does my city accept food scraps and food-soiled paper in the organics container?

  • Commercial Accounts: Athens can provide food scrap collection for most business accounts. Check your city for verification.
  • Residential Accounts: Currently, not all cities have added food scrap collection to their services. Check your city for verification.

If you do not have an organics container (that also accepts food scraps and food-soiled paper), please place paper napkins in the trash and never in the recycling container.


Do Not Recycle

Unused paper napkins cannot be recycled because the fibers are too short to be made into new paper. Used paper napkins also cannot be recycled because they are usually soiled with food or grease, which contaminates the recycling process.

Ways to Reduce

Use Cloth Instead of Paper Napkins

Rather than use paper napkins at home, buy a set of cloth napkins to use instead. Both linen and cotton cloths are more eco-friendly than single-use paper napkins.

Choose Unbleached Paper Products

Most paper products that are white or decorative have been chemically bleached and dyed. Opt for undyed, unbleached paper products to reduce the chemical exposure for you and the environment.

Reusable Packaging For Businesses

Check out Upstream’s catalog of reusable packaging and unpackaging innovators that provide ways for consumers to obtain products, mostly food and beverages, in returnable, reusable, or refillable packaging – or they deliver products to consumers unpackaged altogether.