Can I recycle parchment paper after using it?
The majority of parchment paper manufactured today is coated with silicone to give it nonstick properties. As with other coated forms of paper, this makes it difficult to recycle since the components can’t be easily separated. Parchment paper probably should not go in with your paper recycling, but you can call your waste hauler to confirm. Also keep in mind that any paper that has oils or food residue on it will affect the quality of paper produced by the recycling process. Any kind of paper contaminated in this way shouldn’t go in the recycling bin.
What about composting it, then? Experts from the University of Maryland Extension Home and Garden Information Center said, “We would not recommend composting the parchment paper,” but acknowledged that they could not cite specific studies on the topic. Reynolds, which makes a popular brand of parchment paper, stated via email that their parchment paper “has not been tested for compostability. This is because some of the materials which give Reynolds Parchment Paper its unique performance properties are not amenable to the compost testing process.” There seems to be no direct research on the compostability of parchment paper’s silicone coating, so it’s difficult to say if it should or shouldn’t be added to your home compost pile. We would err on the side of caution and put it in the trash.
The good news is that parchment paper can often be reused for multiple batches if it hasn’t been through temperatures exceeding the manufacturer’s recommendation (usually around 425 degrees Fahrenheit). Alternatively, you may want to invest in a nonstick silicone baking mat that you can use time and time again.