Laminating is typically reserved for important documents, or for a document that will be used and moved around frequently. It helps protect the document from fraying, but once you’re done, it makes it harder to dispose of, and while you can shred laminated paper, you shouldn’t do it in most home shredders.
Why You Shouldn’t Shred Laminated Paper at Home
While you technically can shred laminated paper in an at-home shredder, it’s not recommended. Most home shredders don’t have the blades or engine power to shred laminated paper consistently, and by doing so you risk damaging or even destroying your shredder.
In addition, laminated paper can’t be recycled, so shredding it at home will just result in a mess you have to throw away.
Also, depending on what type of information the laminated paper contains, shredding with a typical home shredder could lead to a security risk. Most home shredders are strip cut, and if someone were to find the document, it would be easy to piece it back together with the other laminated parts.
Options for Shredding Laminated Paper
The best option for shredding laminated paper is an industrial shredder. A shredding service can shred laminated paper easily and securely. However, you should separate the laminated paper and let the shredder know, as it can’t be recycled in the same way as regular paper.
If you just have a few documents that are laminated, scissors can present an alternative option. While not as secure as an industrial shredder, as the pieces still can be reconstructed, it does make data theft more difficult than just tossing the paper in the trash.
If you’re willing to put in a little extra effort, you can actually remove the laminate from the papers. Depending on the lamination job, simple scissors, or an iron or blow dryer, can help you disconnect the laminate from the paper. Once that is done, a home shredder can finish the job.
Other Items You Shouldn’t Shred at Home
Laminated paper is not the only thing commonly thrown into shredders that you shouldn’t shred at home.
Stapled documents shouldn’t be directly fed into a home shredder, as the metal can dull and compromise the blades. However, they are safe to shred once you remove the staples.
Binders and hardcovers fall under a similar category. Even if they fit into your shredder, they can cause serious damage to the shredder’s blades and engine, and can wear them out quickly. If you have a lot of binders with paper still in them, a drop-off shredding service is your best option. They will take the binders to an industrial shredder that can effectively shred them without risk.
Cardboard, unless the home shredder has a cardboard shredding function, should either be recycled or run through an industrial shredder. Cardboard when run through a shredder not meant for it can damage the blades and render it inoperable.
Find a Shredding Solution with Shred Nations
Whether it be laminated paper, cardboard, binders, or anything paper related you need to shred, Shred Nations can help. We partner with reliable shredders all over the country, including hundreds of drop off locations. You can give us a call at (800) 747-3365, or fill out the form on the page, and we’ll find a shredding solution that works for you in just minutes.