Box of Tissues. Are tissues recyclable?

Can you recycle Kleenex boxes? The intent of the question here, I believe, is whether or not the boxes are recyclable themselves, and if so, can you recycle them with the plastic/poly insert attached? (That’s the thing on the top that allows your tissues to dispense one at a time). This question is a bit complicated, depending on the brand of tissues you use, so I’m going to address the two most popular here.

1) Kleenex®: According to the Kleenex® Brand Tissues website, yes, their tissue boxes are recyclable and accepted at recycling centers across the country. Box, plastic, and all.

However, I see that some people on the internet are asking whether or not the tissues themselves are recyclable or compostable. That’s a resounding NO. Specific to the Kleenex® brand, they say: “Kleenex® Tissue is made with biodegradable cellulose fibers. Because the tissue is made with an additive to make it strong, it will not break down as rapidly as bathroom tissue. Therefore, we suggest you discard Kleenex® Tissue in the trash.”

2) Puffs: I specifically wondered today if Puffs tissue boxes are recyclable. Why did I wonder that? Because I’m sorting my recycling and there’s no recycling symbol on it at all. Boooooo!

But, being a resourceful person, I checked out Puff’s website. And astonishingly enough, not all of their boxes are actually recyclable. They do have a sustainability initiative which is admirable, but still, I’m mad I didn’t check before I purchased this. It’s my own fault. From their website: “All Puffs cartons, except for Puffs plus Lotion and Puffs plus Lotion with the scent of Vicks, are recyclable. The Puffs plus Lotion cartons contain an additional treatment, due to the lotion in the product, that makes them non-recyclable in current recycling streams. The outer plastic wrap is recyclable per the recycling designation on the wrapper, where facilities exist.

What does that mean to me? If I’m going to choose Puffs, I’m not getting the lotion and I’m not getting the Vicks scent (I’ll just buy Vicks separately). It’s an easy choice, and one you might want to think about as well.

Is Puffs tissue compostable? I sent a note to them. I haven’t heard back yet but will update if/when I do. UPDATE! They were kind enough to get back to me: “At the current time, I do apologize but our tissues are not compostable or biodegradable, we recommend disposing of them in the household trash.”

What brand of tissues do you use?

As always, feel free to write a comment, or contact me!

Are Kleenex® Boxes or Puffs Tissue Boxes Recyclable?


Hi, I'm MJ, a recovering aspirational recycler who started HowToRecycle to share her journey with others. I kindly invite you to share your knowledge with me, talk about issues that are bothering you, tell me where I’m wrong (you know you want to), and help me discover new things!