You gather last year’s tax returns, old banking statements, and sensitive business reports and head to the mobile shredding office bin when a thought occurs – is paper shredding sustainable?
According to The Paperless Project, individuals in America consume more than 700 pounds of paper every year per person. However, paper sadly represents 26 million tons (16%) of all landfill waste.
While not all paper shredders recycle their shreds, most do. These shreds are sold to paper mills and manufacturers to recreate items like paper towels, tissue paper, and other paper products.
Environmental Impacts of Paper Waste
As discussed above, America is currently throwing away more paper waste rather than shredding or recycling. One might think, what’s the big deal? Doesn’t paper decompose?
The World Counts states online, “pulp and paper is the 3rd largest industrial polluter of air, water and soil… When paper rots, it emits methane gas which is 25 times more toxic than CO2.”
As it turns out, we should be concerned about paper ending up in our landfills instead of our recycle centers.
Are Businesses Practicing Paper Shredding Sustainable?
Business by law are required to shred certain documents. In fact, Mashable states the average U.S. office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year.
With this much paper being used, it’s no wonder businesses are using off-site and pickup shredding services to comply with law regulations.
One alternative method to shredding is burning paper. While this might seem like a good alternative for smaller business looking to destroy documents quickly, burning paper has a worse environmental footprint than the cost of mass-shredding documents through a professional shredding company.
Is Shredding My Paper At Home Sustainable?
In short – it depends. Shredding your paper at home is a great way to destroy small amounts of documents housing sensitive data. However, sometimes recycle pickup services or waste pickup services don’t accept paper shreds – especially if they are mixed in with other recycled material.
To increase your chances of having a recycle center or waste center accept you shreds to be recycled, watch this video that explains how to prepare your shreds for recycle centers.
However, when all is said and done, the safest bet is to use drop off shredding locations with shredders who ensure your documents will be used to create recycled goods.
Start Making Your Office and Home More Sustainable With Paper Shredding
As stated in this article, shredding paper is an environmentally savvy way to reduce your eco-footprint by keeping paper out of landfills. Whether you’re a resident at home, or a large corporation, Shred Nations can help point you in the right direction for finding a shredding service right for you.
Receiving a quote from us on shredding services is FREE, so give us a call at (800) 747-3365 or fill out the form to the right, and we will work with you on finding the most sustainable option for your shredding needs!