Paper shredding machines are handy when you need to destroy documents that are no longer necessary. Besides, there may be confidential information in those papers that wicked people may use against you or your institution.
So, sometimes shredding papers is a necessity. But what to do with the shredded paper pieces? Is shredded paper recyclable?
You can recycle shredded paper like any other form of paper. But their recycling process is a bit different and needs a particular type of machinery. In most cases, ordinary paper recycling plants do not take shredded papers as handling and processing them is difficult. They lose the strength of their fibers while shredding and do not match the requirements of typical paper recyclers.
This article discussed all the aspects of shredded papers regarding their recyclability. You will understand the challenges of recycling shredded papers from this article. You will also learn how to recycle them.
Moreover, you will learn what to do with your shredded papers if you do not have the opportunity to recycle them.
Can You Recycle Shredded Paper?
Like any form of paper, shredded paper is also recyclable. However, there are some drawbacks to recycling shredded paper.
After the shredding, it loses the strength of its natural fibers. It has a direct impact on the recyclability of paper. Moreover, sorting paper shreds is harder than intact papers.
In a paper recycling plant, papers get sorted and stacked before the chemical treatments start. Since it is difficult to sort and stack shredded paper, many recycling plants do not receive the shredded paper. They prefer to take regular papers as they are easy to handle and recycle.
The chemical process of recycling paper slowly breaks down the paper into smaller pieces to make pulp. Where regular-size papers get down to pulp very easily, paper shreds do not.
Shredded papers often end up in tiny balls in the recycling process. As a result, the recycling tools and the filters are unable to handle them properly.
That is why most paper recycling plants refuse to receive shredded papers. However, a few recycling plants take the shreds. They send them to some other recycling plant that can recycle paper shreds, though it involves more time and money.
How To Recycle Shredded Papers?
Using the shredding machine to shred papers may protect your personal information from getting into the wrong hands, but it does not help the environment.
Since recycling paper shreds is troublesome, a better option to dispose of your sensitive documents can be to conceal the information with a marker pen and recycle them as usual.
Find A Curbside Pickup
Depending on your geographical location, you may find different services that will let you recycle shredded papers with curbside collections.
However, the outline of curbside collection varies from city to city. You need to check your city’s waste management program for the details.
Carefully learn about the curbside pickup system to know if there are any particular instructions for shredded papers. In many cases, you may need to pack the shredded paper separately for easy pickup and transportation.
However, some cities do not include shredded paper in their regular recycling program. For that, you need to go to a different facility.
Dropping Off The Shredded Papers
Some cities have separate establishments for recycling shredded paper. In that case, you may need to carry them to the facility by yourself. Make sure to pack and transport the shredded paper according to the guidelines of the recycling facility.
Some facilities get funds from the local or federal government, and some do it independently with your donations. Be prepared to pay a fee for recycling your shredded papers if that is the procedure in your town.
Besides, there might be a limit on how many paper shreds you can recycle at a time.
Look For Taking-Back Program
Some cities have recycling strategies that include a particular day to invite people to recycle goods. In general, these programs are called “take-back” programs.
On take-back days, you may take your shredded papers to a particular location where officials will receive your recyclable goods. Some take-back programs may charge you fees for the recycling process.
How To Reuse Shredded Papers?
You may live in a city with no government or non-government facility to recycle shredded papers. In that case, you need to find out ways to reuse your shredded papers to avoid polluting the environment around you.
Here are some ideas to make use of your paper shreds.
• Making Composts
You can use the shredded papers as a material for compost. Shredded or not, papers are a good source of carbon, and you need carbon for the compost. This is a perfect way to return the paper to the natural environment where it came from.
You have to ensure that the manufacturer did not use any harmful chemicals to produce the paper.
First, you have to add the shreds to the brown layer of your compost along with the leaves, straws, and sawdust. Now, cover it with waste from vegetables and fruits, as well as coffee grounds.
• Creating Cushions For Pets
Another great way to use shredded paper is to make cushions for your pets. Your pets will love you more if you can do it.
Cats, dogs, or birds in your house can enjoy some playful times with the cushions of shredded papers. Simply put the paper pieces into a cotton bag and sew them.
• Packaging Your Utensils
Packing your utensils for moving to a new place can be a troublesome task. To ensure all your crockery remains intact, you can put the shredded papers around them in the box.
So, instead of polluting the environment by throwing out the shredded papers around, save them in a safe place for your future packaging.
• For Your Gardening
In winter, put the shredded paper pieces around your potted plants. It will save them from frost and freezing temperatures.
To retain moisture in your garden on a dry day, you can sprinkle the shredded paper on top of the roots of the trees.
To make it happen, you should always buy green papers, which are compostable. Otherwise, they will not be able to help you with your gardening.
4 Tips On Managing Shredded Papers
Here are some excellent ideas to manage the shredded papers. You can try them if you find it difficult to recycle them. You may find some of the ideas more environment-friendly than recycling them.
• Make Kindling Sticks
You can stuff your shredded papers into used paper towel rolls and make nice kindling sticks. First, twist one side of the paper tube to close it. Put as much shredded paper as you can into the role.
Use your new innovative kindling stick to ignite the fireplace or the coals of your oven. You may find the new kindling stick as handy as any other kindling stick available on the market.
• Create Seed Bombs
Seed bombs or seed balls are an innovative way of rapid forestation. You can turn your shredded papers into elements of a seed bomb.
Put a few shreds of paper and two cups of hot water in a blender. After 10 minutes, blend them at medium speed to form a pulp. Now strain the water from the pulp and mix five grams of prepackaged flower seeds with the paper pulp.
Give the pulp the shape of a ball with your hands. Let the balls rest for a few hours, and you will get some fine seed bombs. You can use them immediately or give them to your friends as a present.
• Make New Paper Sheets
You can make some recycled paper sheets from your shredded papers at home.
First, get your shreds in a blender and submerge them with water. Now, blend them for a minute and pour the liquid mixture into a framed glass or window screen.
To make sure the mixture of shredded paper is laid evenly on the whole glass frame, place another glass sheet on it.
Now keep the glass frame on a dry towel for some hours, and you will get a fine piece of rough paper. You may not write on the paper as it is too textured. But it will be good enough for the art projects of your kids.
• Make Alternative Fuel
You can turn your shredded papers into fuel bricks that you can use as an alternative to wood logs or coal. If you are serious and want to join the mission to save the world by reducing deforestation, you can think of it on a larger scale.
First, put the shredded paper into a bucket and submerge it with hot water. After a while, you will see the shreds breaking down.
Stir the shreds for a while to expedite the melting process. You will find that all the paper shreds have mixed with the water to make a thick pulp.
Now strain the water from the mix and put the pulp in a brick mold. When the mold is full of pulp, dry it to get your fuel block.
I hope this article has answered your question- is shredded paper recyclable? Managing the shredded papers is a part of your duty to nature. First, try to find a facility that recycles shredded paper.
If that is not available, try to reuse them by following the instructions in this article. We should change our lifestyles for a better world in the future.