Can you recycle shredded paper?

The question of whether you can recycle shredded paper isn’t asked often, but when you take the time to review your waste management practices both at home and at work, you’ll understand why it’s important.

Recycling paper is a no-brainer, but does shredding affect its recyclability?

Generally, each local council has different recycling protocols, but you’re usually safe to compost shredded paper at home, take it to a household recycling center, or place it in your general waste bin for energy recovery.

If you’re seeking a deeper understanding of why shredding paper is contentious in recycling circles, here’s the deal: Not all paper mills can process shredded paper, causing many UK councils to exclude it from recycling programs. Shredding compromises the structural integrity of paper, potentially leading to fire hazards. Additionally, the tiny paper fragments often slip through recycling machinery, potentially causing operational and maintenance issues.

You might wonder why shredding matters if all paper ends up pulped. The issue lies not in the recycling of the material but in the sorting process. The pieces can create a mess, pose fire risks, and get trapped in machinery crevices. However, there are alternative uses for shredded paper. It makes excellent compost or animal bedding material. If these options don’t work for you, disposal in the general waste bin is the way to go for potential energy recovery.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have you been recycling shredded paper correctly? Have you come up with any innovative uses for shredded paper? If there are other items you’re uncertain about recycling properly, we encourage you to share your experiences in the comments.