Hello from Your Green Team,
There are multiple paper products available for any occasion. However, there are some aspects about paper plates that can help us all determine the proper sorting bin to place these products. 
Some paper plates have a poly-coating which is a type of plastic. This product is unfortunately landfill/trash, since the product contains both plastic and paper. However, there are also paper products that have a wax coating. These products are actually compostable because the wax coating can be broken down along with the paper.
Both products look and feel similar. Nevertheless, there is a way to tell the difference. If when scratching the paper plate the coating comes off, then it is a wax coated plate and can be composted. When you scratch and nothing comes off, the paper plate has a poly-coating and must be placed in the landfill.
If you have any questions, please contact recycle@psu.edu or tweet questions to @sustainPSU.
Recycling and composting. This is what we do, and this is how we do it,
Your Green Team
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