Paper Towels

Trash Organics

Paper towels are not accepted in the recycling container. Depending on your city, food-soiled paper towels may be accepted in the organics container.

Place in Trash Container

  • Paper soiled with cleaning chemicals, hazardous waste, bio-solids, animal waste, and/or any non-food related liquids.
  • Bathroom waste, including tissues, bathroom paper towels, and personal hygiene products.

Place in Organics Container

  • Paper towels that are food-soiled ONLY with food and/or drink liquids.

*Athens prefers (but does not require) unbleached paper towels for composting.

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 accept food scraps and food-soiled paper), please place paper towels in the trash and never in the recycling container


Do Not Recycle

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


Compost Towels and Tubes

Brown paper towels and their cardboard tubes can be put in a home compost. Do not compost white paper towels at home compost because they are bleached. Also, do not compost any paper towels that have come into contact with chemicals.


Recycle Cardboard Tubes

Recycle the tubes inside paper towel rolls with other cardboard. Find out more about cardboard tubes.

Ways to Reduce

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.

Switch to Unpaper Towels

Cut down on waste by making the switch to unpaper towels, or reusable towels made from cotton or linen. You can even wrap them around a paper towel dispenser for easy access.