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Where Can I Recycle....Shredded Paper?

Wher Can I Recycle Shredded Paper?

Image Credit: mrmac04

Shredded paper. Such a pain! It gets everywhere in your home - under the sofa, behind the curtains, then it gets stuck in the vacuum cleaner. Take it outside and it it blows around at the slightest breath of wind.

And it is difficult to recycle too.

Shredding sensitive documents is certainly a very good idea. You should never put documents with personal or financial details straight into a recycling collection, as this could leave you open to identity theft.

Why Is Shredded Paper Difficult Recycle?

Many local councils will not collect shredded paper in their household recycling collections at all. Some ask that you put it in a paper bag or envelope before placing it in your recycling bin. You should always check your local council's policy before putting shredded paper into your recycling bin.

The problem is twofold:-

  1. Firstly shredding cuts the fibres of the paper up into very short lengths, which means that it is more difficult to make into good quality paper pulp for recycling into new paper items.
  2. Small pieces of paper get trapped in the paper recycling machinary and can cause a fire hazard.

I suspect that there is a third reason - your council does not want to make a mess in your street and create more work for their street cleaning team if the paper blows around either.

Minimise Your Shredding

Firstly, try to avoid shredding paper documents unless they really do have personal information on them. So yes, shred a credit card bill, but take out the flyers and advertisments that are included and put them in your regular recycling collection.

Rather than shredding a whole document, maybe you could just remove your address and shred that part, and put the rest into your recycling bin.

So What Can I Do With My Shredded Paper?

There are a few things that you can do with shredded paper if you cannot put it into your recycling bin.

  • Shredded paper is very good for adding to compost, as long as it is not the type of paper from glossy magazines. This is what I do with my shredded paper - mix it well into the compost and you can be absolutly sure that it will not fall into anyone else's hands. Paper is particularly good for soaking up moisture if your compost is a bit soggy.
  • Small pets may like to use it for bedding, for example gerbils, rabbits or hamsters. If your animal is a non-meat eater, the bedding can then be composted when it has been used as well.
  • You could use it as a packaging material for breakable items as an alternative to polystyrene 'popcorn'.
  • It may be possible to take it to your Household Recycling Centre for recycling, even if it cannot be collected.
  • Otherwise you will have to put it into your household waste collection.
How To Recycle Shredded Paper

About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of Reduce Reuse Recycle.

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