Butcher paper is a sturdy paper often used to wrap meats, sandwiches and other foods as well as a popular paper choice for crafters and school art classes. Given its coarse texture, strength, resistance to tearing and inexpensive price tag, butcher paper is widely used. It is commonly brown, white or black in color and is one of the easiest papers to reuse and recycle.
Determine if your butcher paper is waxed or oiled. Food service providers often use butcher paper that has been coated with a fine layer of wax or oil to make the paper more resistant to leaks when wrapping moist foods. Waxed or oiled butcher paper cannot be recycled, but it can be composted. Shred or tear the paper into smaller bits for faster composting. Butcher paper with food residue also cannot be recycled but can be composted.
Unwaxed butcher paper without food residue can be reused before it is recycled: Make your own gift wrap; roll and stuff under doors and in window cracks for extra insulation; use instead of paper towels when cleaning windows and mirrors; line the bottom of a garbage can or litter box to absorb liquids and keep down odors; spread wet shreds around plants to discourage weeds; stuff into stored boots and handbags to help keep their shape; shred for papier-mâché projects or use twisted for kindling when starting a fire.
Unwaxed butcher paper can be recycled easily with regular paper by your local municipal recycling center. It can also be shredded and added to your compost bin since it biodegrades quickly.
Sandy Kreps has more than 15 years of experience writing for books, magazines and online publications. Specializing in green living, parenting and home life, Kreps contributes regularly to "Green Child Magazine" and several websites. Her first book, "Fresh Start: 31 Days to Simplify, Declutter and Rein in the Chaos," is available on Amazon. Kreps holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication from Kansas State University.