Paper Plates Compost (Yard Trimmings) Cart Remember to put your paper plates, soiled or clean, into your brown compost cart! Paper plates are made out of a cheaper paper fiber that can no longer be recycled – but can be composted, even if the paper plate has a shiny coating on top! 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. 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. 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.