Paper Plates Put in Garbage Do Not Recycle Food-Soiled Plates Paper plates with any food, grease or oil residue cannot be recycled. Food and grease contaminate paper fibers and make them impossible to recycle. Do Not Compost Glossy Paper Products Glossy plates are coated with plastic, which cannot break down in a compost. Ways to Reduce Choose Reusable Dishes Reduce paper waste by choosing reusable dishes over disposable ones. It’s easy to pack a set of reusable dishes for a picnic or a camping trip. They’ll need to be washed, but they’ll reduce your impact on the environment. Metal and bamboo are good alternatives that won’t break if dropped. Choose Unbleached Paper Products Most paper products that are white or decorative have been chemically bleached and dyed. Opt for undyed, unbleached paper products to reduce the chemical exposure for you and the environment. Did You Know? Paper Plates Are Greener Than Plastic Plates Despite being made out of trees, paper plates are better for the environment than plastic plates. Plastic never biodegrades, so it will stay in the environment as plastic — or microplastic — forever. Paper, on the other hand, will biodegrade. Neither option is better than using reusable dishes. Washable dishes create far less waste and pollution than paper or plastic.