compostable parchment paper with cake tin, whisk and wire rack

Making greener choices at home is easier than you think, especially if you make small, incremental changes. If you love to bake or use parchment paper in your cooking, switching to an eco-friendly alternative is an easy step you can take to reduce waste to landfill. We look at some of the great compostable parchment paper options available that you can try next time you cook.

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Cake in tin lined wit compostable baking paper and rolls of brown compostable parchment paper

The problem With Traditional Parchment Paper

Parchment paper (also called baking paper or greaseproof paper) is a staple in the kitchen. We use it to line cake tins and cookie sheets for baking, to create wrapped parcels for steaming fish or chicken, or even just to line a roasting pan or frying pan to prevent sticking.

Traditional white parchment paper isn’t readily biodegradable and won’t break down very quickly. You can’t simply add it to your compost at home. Instead, you’ll need to recycle it. Parchment paper coated in silicone is harder to recycle. Not all local recycling services will accept baking paper for processing.

Also, some baking paper is coated with a compound called Quilon which contains the heavy metal chromium.

Making the switch from traditional white waxed or coated paper to a brown compostable option is a small and easily achievable way to help reduce waste from cooking.

Home Compostable Parchment Paper

It’s great to see that more and more brands are coming out with compostable parchment paper options. Even better, these baking papers are completely home compostable and biodegradable, so you can just add them to your compost (or local green waste collection if you have one).

Our local supermarket now sells home compostable parchment paper brands right next to the traditional coated baking paper. Here in Australia we can buy Multix brand or Glad to Be Green compostable brown baking paper. Another option that’s available online in many countries is If You Care parchment baking paper sheets, which are unbleached and chlorine free and certified as home compostable.

Compostable parchment baking paper brands available at an Australian supermarket
Compostable parchment paper for sale in Australia

How does compostable parchment perform?

It really is just as good as traditional parchment paper. I use it for lining cake tins, baking sheets, and to prevent roasts and vegetables from sticking to the pan. It’s also great for making packets for steaming. And of course you can use to place between layers of sweet treats or other foods for storage too.

Brands like Glad make compostable baking paper that’s rated for use in hot ovens, up to 240C (260F). The only limitation is that you definitely can’t use it for grilling or it may catch fire – but that’s the same with any baking paper!

Some people don’t like the colour of compostable parchment paper. Yes, it’s brown. It may not look as ‘pretty’ as traditional white baking or greaseproof paper, but appearance isn’t really an issue unless you are using the paper for lining, wrapping or presentation. And even then it’s a small concession to make to reduce waste. I personally love the brown paper look anyway.

Other Non Stick Options

Silicone baking sheets are another alternative to parchment paper, especially for baking cookies or other foods on baking sheets. Reusable silicone sheets can be washed and used over and over again, making them a better alternative to traditional parchment paper.

Most silicone sheets are sold in rectangular pieces which work well for baking trays or cookie sheets. There are also some that come as a roll of silicone baking sheet and can be cut to size.

Silicone can tend to stain or discolour over time, so if I sue silicone I prefer to use a darker colour like these grey Ever Eco silicone baking mats.

However, silicone baking mats aren’t recommended for high heat. It isn’t clear what may be released from the silicone sheets at high temperatures. You also need to be careful about the quality of the silicone mat, as there isn’t a certification scheme in place to regulate this. That’s why I only use silicone for low temperature baking and I prefer to mostly use compostable parchment paper instead.

More Small Ways To Be Greener

We are all about making small swaps to more eco-friendly options. Every small change can make a difference.

For more eco-friendly changes, why not consider a completely compostable phone case? Or swap to a greener alternative to plastic clothes pegs? You’ll also love our ideas for making more sustainable choices when choosing home decor.

For more inspiration on small ways to be greener, we’d love you to subscribe.

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2 Comments

  1. Are there any that are rated to 450 degrees for using in a cast iron Dutch oven for sourdough?

    I would love to switch but I haven’t found anything would work for this.

  2. Hi Megan. It can be a problem for high heat, can’t it? One of the Australian brands I’ve listed (Glad To Be Green) is rated to 240C/464F, which works for us. Bakers Secret parchment sheets are rated to 450F, and get positive reviews for high temperature baking too. Hope that helps!

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