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Can I compost tissues?

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Can I compost tissues?

Post  Aussie Girl on 6/18/2010, 10:36 pm

Hi everyone - does anyone put tissues in their compost?

I suffer from allergies and so have a runny nose pretty much every day.

Some day's I might only use 2 or 3 but some days I'll use 20 or 30.

Do you think they would break down ok? Is there any reason not to compost them?

Thanks.

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  Retired Member 1 on 6/18/2010, 10:37 pm

The paper would break down just fine. I'd want to make sure the compost pile heated up good to make sure the germs would be killed, but I think cold/ flu/ allergy germs die pretty quickly once out of the body.

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  plb on 6/19/2010, 5:39 am

I have allergies too, and go through lots of tissues, and I compost them too. They're "browns" so they balance the grass clippings and kitchen scraps, and they help keep my compost heap smelling lovely. I also compost paper kitchen towels.

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  silverbug on 6/19/2010, 8:10 am

We compost our paper shredder paper, we compost our paper towels, we compost some tissues. What do you mean it keeps your compost smelling lovely? I wouldn't compost any tissues with camphor or lotions or other chemically stuff in it, but that's just me.

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  Lavender Debs on 6/19/2010, 8:46 am

This is probably not a big deal but I'm just going to say it anyway. My husband has worked in a paper mill for years. Tissues and personal products (like paper towels) are his thing. It has been 4 or 5 years since we have talked about ingredients, but last we talked, they were still using some nasty chemicals (safe in small doses) to make white tissue white, even though they have made huge improvements since the diazon (sp? bleach) days. Dyes for colors are safe but NOT organic. Paper towels are strong because they are full of latex. He would rather I burn them than put them into the compost which is ultimately our food.

Probably nothing will ever happen to anyone who composts paper products. Avoid bright white, shiny and strong color is his advice. Never compost paper towels unless it is the old fashioned slushy color stuff (read the label on "natural" paper products, he was suspicious of the nice brown color on some of them....apparently it isn't "natural" he found dye names on the ingredients) It is these companies best interest for their product to do no harm and my husband will admit he is over exposed and jaded. His best advice is that you use old T shirts for your nose and dish towels and cloths for your kitchen....except for the part that paper products put dinner on our table. Facial tissue and paper towels should NEVER go into the toilet, so their break down must be slow from factory content and may not make your compost happy. The germs from your nose are the least of the problem. But again, that does not make it bad for you, you are safe....they just are still not so good for the environment.

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  Lavender Debs on 6/19/2010, 8:48 am

silverbug wrote: What do you mean it keeps your compost smelling lovely? I wouldn't compost any tissues with camphor or lotions or other chemically stuff in it, but that's just me.

Because they are "browns" like dry leaves and chipped branches. Not from perfumes.

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  MsMinchin on 6/19/2010, 9:32 pm

FWIW we have a septic system and are not supposed to flush tissues like Kleenex because they don't break down easily. I wouldn't put them in my compost for the same reason. I can understand not wanting them to go in the landfill though.

That is very interesting about latex in paper towels!

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  LaFee on 6/20/2010, 3:08 am

FWIW, allergies are not caused by germs, bacteria, or viruses, and therefore do not transmit any sort of microorganism to other people.

Allergies are a physical reaction to an external irritant, not an illness.

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  Icemaiden on 6/20/2010, 7:06 am

LaFee wrote:FWIW, allergies are not caused by germs, bacteria, or viruses, and therefore do not transmit any sort of microorganism to other people.

Allergies are a physical reaction to an external irritant, not an illness.

True, but I suppose nothing stops you having an allergy and a viral/bacterial infection? Not that I think there is much which would survive a compost heap
The latex info is interesting. The only paper I put in my bin is the coffee filter - and that is brown, hopefully nice brown and not pretend brown!

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  LaFee on 6/20/2010, 7:13 am

It's not impossible, but a lot of people don't realize there's a difference.

It's bad enough to have itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose, but it's frustrating to be treated like a leper because of it.

(Yes, I realize it's hard from the outside to tell the difference, but once we say "it's my allergies" it would be nice to not have people skittering away from you.)

And no, meds don't always help, but we don't always have the time to stay home!

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  Icemaiden on 6/20/2010, 7:27 am

Have my sympathy, for what it is worth My three kids all have pollen allergies and other stuff too. One is allergic to egg plant! Poor thing, she didn't want to eat it, didn't like the taste, so I said OK just have one very small slice. Guess what? Big red lumps all over her arms I felt pretty bad about that!
Our family doctor is always totally blocked up so I figure if it was easy to fix then he would have fixed his own nose...

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  camprn on 6/20/2010, 7:49 am

Deb, thanks so much for your post about your husbands knowledge about paper. Very informative and helpful!!!!! :!:

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  plb on 6/20/2010, 10:39 am

silverbug wrote:What do you mean it keeps your compost smelling lovely? I wouldn't compost any tissues with camphor or lotions or other chemically stuff in it, but that's just me.
As LavenderDebs says, paper and cardboard keeps the compost smelling lovely (like woods after a cleansing rain) because it balances the "greens" such as grass clippings and kitchen scraps. Too many greens will cause slimy compst and rotting smell. I only use plain tissues, no balms or perfumes!

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  Aussie Girl on 6/20/2010, 6:01 pm

Thanks a lot for everyone's replies.

I have my compost in 3 garbage bins which I rotate. I might try adding my tissues to just 1 of them and see how it goes. I always have too much green & not enough brown in my compost.

LaFee - I know exactly what you mean!!

Thanks again everyone.

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Re: Can I compost tissues?

Post  GAPSfamily on 6/24/2010, 4:41 pm

Ok, so I'm ready to start my compost pile and stumbled on this post- and I can't help but to comment-

Did y'all know these nasty allergies can be linked to not digesting food properly?

Every year I get seasonal allergies. Inevitably, I get the worst sinus infections as a result of those allergies. Like between 3-5 sinus infections a year- and they never last less than a month. In September we started a family adventure. We started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to improve the way we digest food, and in turn resolve a lot of other health issues we have. If all it helped with were the allergies and sinus infectoins, I would be happy, but it has helped us to get so much healthier in so many other ways! - and guess what a main ingredient is in our diet? VEGETABLES! Yay for SFG!

I am so grateful for how blessed we are to have learned about SFG - and SCD at the same time. They really should go hand in hand.

AND- We have only used 2 boxes of tissues between the six of us in the last 9 months!

(Use your search engine to look up SCD. Look into The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (or GAPS for short) too if anyone in your family has mental issues like depression or ADHD. GAPS and SCD are very closely related. )

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