How to Recycle Shredded Paper

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Shredding your documents is important to help you protect your personal information from possible identity theft. However, many areas don’t allow you to add shredded paper to your recycling bin since it can get caught in the machines. If you want to properly recycle your shredded paper, check with your city’s waste management facility to see how to dispose of it in your area. Otherwise, you can find new uses for the shreds around your home to get the most out of them!

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Disposing of Shredded Paper Properly

  1. Call your city’s recycling service to find out what to do with your paper. Reach out to your area’s recycling facility and ask them if they accept shredded paper in recycling bins. Some areas may accept it if you follow specific guidelines, but others may not accept shredded paper at all. Ask them about any other recycling services in the area to see if they have any recommendations for what to do.[1]
    Recycle Shredded Paper Step 1.jpg
    • You might be able to find this information online by visiting the website for your city’s recycling service.
  2. Seal the shredded paper in a recyclable bag before putting it in your bin. Loose pieces of shredded paper can fall through the belts on recycling machines and cause damage. Instead, put all of your shredded paper into a paper or recyclable plastic bag. Once the bag is full, tie the handles together or fold over the edge so none of the scraps can escape. Put the sealed bag in your recycling bin when you’re finished.[2]
    Recycle Shredded Paper Step 2.jpg
    • Some recycling facilities don’t accept bagged recyclables.
  3. Put shredded paper in a green compost bin if your city allows it. Some cities provide you with a green bin you can use to collect compostables. Mix the shredded paper with the rest of your compost so it doesn’t blow around or come loose. Put your compost bin outside the night before collection day so the workers can collect it and take it to the proper facility.[3]
    Recycle Shredded Paper Step 3.jpg
    • Not every city will offer composting collection services.
  4. Look for shredding events in your area to get rid of shredded paper and documents. Some communities offer shredding events where you can bring your documents or shredded paper to get rid of. Search online for shredding events near you, and bring any paper you want to throw away safely. When you arrive, find the person running the shredding machine and take your paper to them. The person running the shredder will pour your shredded paper into the machine so it’s destroyed and recycled properly.[4]
    Recycle Shredded Paper Step 4.jpg
    • Shredding events may only take place in larger cities a few times each year.
    • Most events won’t accept junk mail, colored paper, or newspapers.

[Edit]Repurposing Shredded Paper

  1. Pack boxes and fragile materials with shredded paper to protect them. Fill the bottom of the box with a layer of shredded paper. Put your items on top of the shredded paper and space them out evenly so they don’t bump into one another. Fill in around the spaces between your items with the shredded paper so they don’t shift around when you transport or send them.[5]
    Recycle Shredded Paper Step 5.jpg
    • You can also use the shredded paper as filling for gift bags if you want.
    • Make sure none of the personal information on your shredded documents is legible if you use the shredded paper to fill packages for other people.
  2. Save the shredded paper to use for pet bedding if you have one. Small animals, such as mice, rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs, use paper scraps and small shreds to make their nests. Mix equal parts of your pet’s bedding and shredded paper so it can slowly adjust to it. Line the bottom of its cage with the mix and replace it once it gets soiled.[6]
    Recycle Shredded Paper Step 6.jpg
    • Shredded paper can also make a good alternative or add-in for pet litter since it can absorb odors and moisture.
  3. Stuff the shreds into paper towel rolls to make kindling sticks. Pinch or twist the end of a paper towel tube to close it so your paper can’t fall out the other side. Push your shredded paper into the tube and pack it down tightly using a knife or spoon. Continue filling the tube until you can’t fit any more paper shreds inside. When you want to use your kindling, set the tube at the base of a fire pit and light it so you the wood or coals ignite easier.[7]
    Recycle Shredded Paper Step 7.jpg
    • You can also mix in dryer lint if you want a firestarter that’s more flammable. Be careful since dryer lint catches easily and an open flame or heat source could cause it to ignite.
  4. Compost your shredded paper to provide nutrients to a garden. Shredded paper contains carbon, which adds nutrients to the soil and helps plants grow better. Pour the shredded paper into a compost bin with the rest of your food waste so it can break down. Maintain a balance of 25 parts paper to 1 part vegetable and food waste so the compost has a good carbon to nitrogen ratio.[8]
    Recycle Shredded Paper Step 8.jpg
    • Avoid using colored or glossy paper shreds since they could contain chemicals that could affect the balance of your soil.
  5. Make seed bombs with the paper to give as gifts and plant flowers. Put 3-4 sheets of shredded paper inside of a blender with of hot water. Let the paper sit in the water for 10 minutes and then blend the paper on medium speed until it forms a thick pulp. Strain the pulp before mixing in 1-2 teaspoons (3-6 g) of prepackaged flower seeds by hand. Shape the pulp into balls or push it into a mold, such as an ice cube tray or muffin tin, and let them dry overnight.[9]
    Recycle Shredded Paper Step 9.jpg
    • When you want to plant one, put the seed bomb in a pot with soil and water it so the seeds can sprout.
    • Use smaller-sized seeds since they’re more likely to grow and won’t take up as much space inside your seed bombs.
    • Cut the seed bombs with cookie cutters if you want to make fun shapes.
  6. Create new sheets of paper from your shreds. Put your shredded paper in a blender and pour water over the shreds until they’re completely submerged. Blend the paper on high for about 1 minute before pouring the mixture in a framed window screen that’s sitting in a container of water. Sift the water through the screen so the pulp stays inside of the frame. Set the frame on a dry towel and let the paper dry completely so you can use it for crafts or projects.[10]
    Recycle Shredded Paper Step 10.jpg
    • Paper will get weaker the more times you shred it, so your homemade paper may not be the most durable. away on the lowest setting to dry it out.}}

[Edit]Tips

  • Only shred the documents that you need to so you don’t create extra paper waste.[11]

[Edit]Warnings

  • Avoid putting shredded paper directly into a recycling bin since it could get caught in the recycling machines and will most likely go to a landfill instead.[12]

[Edit]References

  1. ↑ http://www.austintexas.gov/department/residential-services#!rc-cpage=44937
  2. ↑ https://youtu.be/bBTm6N6hHY4?t=38
  3. ↑ http://www.austintexas.gov/department/residential-services#!rc-cpage=44937
  4. ↑ https://www.recyclebycity.com/chicago/brief/the-skinny-on-recycling-shredded-paper
  5. ↑ https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/recycling/blogs/uses-shredded-paper
  6. ↑ https://www.redtedart.com/uses-shredded-paper/?cn-reloaded=1
  7. ↑ https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/recycling/blogs/uses-shredded-paper
  8. ↑ https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2013-2-march-april/ask-mr-green/hey-mr-green-can-you-compost-shredded-paper
  9. ↑ https://youtu.be/N3tbZguBzG8?t=31
  10. ↑ https://youtu.be/RR_218EtLJU?t=47
  11. ↑ https://www.recyclebycity.com/chicago/brief/the-skinny-on-recycling-shredded-paper
  12. ↑ https://youtu.be/bBTm6N6hHY4?t=21

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