How to Recycle Shredded Paper

Green Recycle Symbol

There’s no denying that recycling used paper and other paper products is an environmentally friendly practice. However, one common myth is that shredded paper can be disposed of in a normal recycling bin to be recycled.

Unlike paper plates or plastic Tupperware that can be easily sorted, small scraps of paper can’t be filtered out during the recycling process. Even if you’re taking steps to try and personally shred documents sustainably, your paper shreds will still end up in a landfill along with all the other trash that can’t be recycled.

Learn more in the video below about how to recycle shredded paper, including the reality behind shredding and recycling’s relationship. In addition, learn the potential consequences for do-it-yourselfers of choosing to either shred or recycle as opposed to doing both. Most importantly, learn how shredding and recycling are combined during the process of different shredding services like mobile, off-site, and drop-off shredding.

Shredding + Recycling: The Unfortunate Truth

Coming straight from waste disposal kingpin Waste Management, shredded papers should not be placed in normal recycling bins along with other recyclables. Even though paper products are one of the most common types of recycled materials, shredded paper, unfortunately, can’t be properly sorted and recycled due to its small size.

During the recycling process, the various types of materials are run down a conveyor belt to be filtered out. When it comes to bits of shredded paper they’re too small to separate and end up in the container for landfill waste. As a result, it now poses the question of how can you combine shredding and recycling.

Shredding vs Recycling

There are trade-offs for shredding and recycling on your own.

How to recycle shredded paper with Shred NationsShredding Instead of Recycling

If you opt to shred documents yourself, you might be disposing of your information more securely. However, those paper shreds are going to end up in a landfill.

Also, even if you separate paper shreds from other trash, the recycling facility will turn you away because of the quantity.

Recycling Instead of Shredding

Since you have to recycle paper whole, any sensitive information they contain is at risk. Even though your documents might not end up in a landfill, all of the information is visible.

Security is the whole point of shredding documents. If at a facility someone filtering recyclables sees valuable personal or financial information, who’s to say they won’t steal it?

How to Recycle Shredded Paper With Shredding Services

When it comes to recycling, one of the greatest benefits of using a shredding service is how it includes recycling as the final step in the process. Unlike you trying to recycle shreds normally with other materials where they inevitably end up in a landfill, shredding providers produce shreds in enough bulk that facilities can recycle the shreds exclusively. As a result, many providers will partner with a recycling facility to handle paper shreds post-destruction.

Shred Nations makes recycling shredded paper easy1. You Collect Materials (and Schedule Service If Needed)

The first step is the same among all the various options for shredding. Start by boxing and gathering your materials. If you plan to use mobile or off-site shredding, then you’ll need to schedule a date for service as well.

2. Providers Come to Collect Materials or You Bring Them In

Next comes the actual document destruction, although it does vary slightly from service to service. With mobile service, a shred truck comes to shred at your location. With off-site service, the truck comes to you for pickup but then goes back to a shredding facility. And with drop-off service, you bring your materials into a walk-in location.

3. You Get a Certificate of Destruction & They Recycle

Once the shredding is complete, providers give you a formal certificate of destruction. It provides details like where and when the shredding took place. Finally, the shredding service will work with its partner recycling provider to recycle the shreds exclusively.

Looking to Recycle Shredded Paper Both Safely and Sustainably?

Join the countless other individuals and businesses that we’ve helped to securely dispose of documents through shredding while still being able to recycle the leftovers when you visit us at Shred Nations today. To receive free quotes, fill out the form, use the live chat, or give us a call at (800) 747-3365.