Recycling Shredded Paper

Recycling Shredded Paper

As concerns over the environment have increased over the past few years, businesses and residential communities have started more “going green” recycling campaigns to do their part. Just separate the paper from the plastics from the metals and throw them in a bin on the curb. However, it is not as easy as it may seem, especially when it comes to shredded paper. Here is everything you need to know about recycling shredded paper.

Can You Recycle Shredded Paper?

Shredded paper is still paper and therefore it can be recycled. However, where regular paper is fairly simple, shredded paper is complex. That’s right, if you take that sheet of looseleaf and tear it into bits, it suddenly becomes a hassle. Many recycling services refuse to accept shredded paper since it can ball up and clog  the filters and machinery at sorting plants. In addition, shredding paper weakens the strength of the natural fibers, making it highly ineffective at being turned into new paper. We often think recycling paper is the easiest way to save the planet, since it has a 68% recycling rate, but it only makes a difference if it’s done correctly. ​

How to Properly Recycle Shredded Paper

So this begs the question: what should we do with our shredded paper? You presumably don’t want your identity stolen by a dumpster diver and your credit card statements are nobody’s business but your own. Well, one answer is fairly simple, but not completely obvious: Reduce your amount of shredding. If you just want to cover up one line from your bank statement, use a permanent marker to black it out and recycle the paper like you normally do. However, this may not always be possible, especially with large documents.  

If you find yourself needing to shred paper, here are a few easy ways it can be recycled.

Separate the Shredded Paper Into a Bag 

Check with your city’s waste management guidelines to ensure they will take shredded paper with your curbside pickup, as long as it’s in its own receptacle. Just be sure it’s not a plastic bag — it’ll end up in a landfill, which defeats the purpose of your green efforts.

Check for Local Shredded Paper Pickup Services

Protocols may vary between cities and states, so be sure to check for services in your area. Some places have trucks that will get your shredded nuisance bits, though they may only do it by request.

Find a Shredding Event Near You 

Many communities often host periodic free “shredding days” where the community can bring their scraps to machines specifically designed to handle shredded paper. If you have a safe place to store your documents, it can be well worth it to take advantage of these events. 

Check Your Area for Local Drop-off Locations

Check your area for designated drop-off sites for shredded paper or waste management facilities that are willing to collect shredded paper. Sometimes this service may require a fee or limit how much paper you are allowed to bring in. ​

While recycling shredded paper may require a bit of extra effort, it is a great start towards “going green” and saving our planet. The protocol for recycling shredded paper may vary based on your location, so this list may not include all of your options. Check with your local waste management for more information.  ​

Paper Shredding and Recycling with R4 Services

If you don’t want to have to worry about saving the planet, we’ll do it for you! R4 Services offers confidential, secure document destruction and disposal services. We do it for an array of different media types: tapes, disks, cartridges, x-rays, HDDs, monitors, film, and of course, paper. Check out our Destruction Services page and give us a call for more information.

Have questions? Give us a call today to discuss your needs!