Butcher's paper was suggested to me as a sustainable material for storing food in the freezer.

However, I found this site that suggests it is sometimes oiled or waxed. Perhaps it coated in plastic sometimes too?

My goal in the other question linked above was to find a material suitable for freezer use that would be recyclable, compostable, or at least reusable many times.

If I'm going to compost butcher's paper, then it's clear I would need to find out whether the supplier of the paper treats the paper with wax (food oil would probably be ok though), or plastic. Can anyone tell me what the norm is for treatment of butcher paper?

  • In Australia, AFAIK we have butcher's paper, and the plastic-backed paper delicatessens use to pack their meat products. Traditional butchers paper, as used by butchers, comes in A1 sheets and is plain white paper. It may be bleached, but has no coatings.
    – andy256
    Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 23:49

2 Answers 2


The city of Ottawa apparently composts butcher's paper without distinction. Both Oakland and Berkeley include butcher's paper in their compostable lists (and Berkeley's even includes "Brown Waxed Paper Sheets"). The town of Sherborn also says that "wax paper and butcher paper" can go in your compost pile.

However, the city of Portland does not want butcher's paper in their compost, "because they contain plastic".

From what I have read on the Internet, there is a huge diversity of products called "butcher's paper", but plastic-coated papers seem to be referred to as "freezer paper".

I guess I do not really have an answer for you, and I believe there is no such "norm". I would only recommend you to make sure you know what the paper is made of when you buy it, and make sure it is entirely plant-based if you are to compost it.


I tried chewing on some just now, chewed it for about a minute. took it out of my mouth and tried pulling at it, pulling it apart, and it responded much like regular paper.
I am absolutely going to compost it. shred it, then compost it.

I am referring to waxed paper wrappers from fast food restaurants, Burger King and Taco Bell burrito wrapping papers.

also big thanks to chtfn for the great information.

  • 2
    Welcome to Sustainable Living! Why do you think that chewing on it helps in determining whether you can compost it or not?
    – THelper
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 8:18

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