Earth911's "Ask The Editor" series tackles your toughest environmental and recycling dilemmas.
How do you reuse or recycle wax paper? - @katiehepfinger
Usually recycling paper is pretty straight forward as most curbside programs accept the material. But it gets a little hairy when we start getting into soiled paper, paperboard, coated paper, wax paper or (gulp) pizza boxes.
The most important thing to understand is that paper is recycled with water, so adding any type of oil to the mix essentially contaminates and ruins the batch.
Grease and oil are not as big of a problem for plastic, metal and glass, as those materials are recycled using a heat process. But when paper products are recycled, they are mixed with water and turned into a slurry. Since we all know water and oil don’t mix, the issue is clear.
With all that being said, the simple answer is no, wax paper is not recyclable because it is coated with...well wax. But if you simply have to use it to make those homemade biscuits or fluffy sugar cookies, don't toss your wax paper into the trash after using it. If your only "contaminant" is powdered sugar or flour, you can simply wipe off the paper with a damp cloth and use it again.
Wax paper is considered to be "mixed paper." Other coated paper products that cannot be recycled include food contaminated paper, waxed cardboard milk and juice containers, oil-soaked paper, carbon paper, pet food bags, sanitary products or tissues, thermal fax paper, stickers and plastic laminated paper such as fast food wrappers.
But with a little stretch of the ol' noggin, you can find a reuse project for even the most complicated of items.