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Shredded Paper Recycling

Papers form a considerable part of the trash we generate because they are used in our everyday lives. How then do we dispose of these papers in an environmentally acceptable manner? What happens to the papers we throw into the recycling bin? Can they be recycled, and if yes, how? The focus of this article will be to explore whether or not you can recycle shredded paper.

Can I Recycle Shredded Paper?

Shred paper is grouped under mixed paper by trash management companies. This is because shredded paper can be a combination of different shredded papers, including cardboard, newspapers, textbooks, etc., of varying paper grades.

Although some countries do not have strict policies regarding recycling shredded paper, it is possible to reuse them. So can shredded paper be recycled? Shredded paper can be recycled today in Australia in an environmentally friendly manner.

Some of the different ways that shredded paper can be recycled include standard council recycling, third-party assistance, shredding events, and Do It Yourself (DIY) methods.

How To Prepare Shredded Paper For Recycling

Store in a clean and clear paper bag

Recycling is the best way of disposing of shredded papers. First, put the shredded papers inside a clear paper bag to prevent mixing with other trash. This enables the trash management and recycling companies to differentiate the shredded paper from the rest of the garbage and then pile them into bales for easy movement.

Sort into groups

The latter stage of the recycling process is sorting. Here, the recycling company groups the papers based on type. Papers are usually grouped by thickness.

Move to the recycling mill

Sorted, shredded papers are moved to the mill. Machines processing the paper are known as pulpers at the mill, adding water and chemicals to break the papers into fibres. This process also helps to remove ink and adhesives from the papers, and the fibres start bonding together.

The fibres are rolled and dried and then used to make new products. Shredding paper reduces the size of its fibre, and upon recycling, it is difficult for the product to stay intact. As a result, recycled paper can only be used to make low-quality products such as paper towels, tissue, coffee filters, and egg cartons.

Challenges Of Recycling Shredded Papers

Size of paper

Shredded papers are tiny in size, and once they are mixed with other rubbish, it is almost impossible to pick every one of them out. For this reason, many trash management companies just transform it into disposable trash to be burnt later.

Quality of paper fibre

A factor that influences what recycled paper is used for is the length of its fibre. Once the paper is shredded, its fibre shortens in size, making it difficult for the paper to become intact. This is the main reason why recycled shredded papers are used to manufacture low-quality products like toilet paper.

How To Ensure Shredded Paper Is Recycled?

Contact your local curbside pickup

In some locations, shredded papers go out with curbside collections. Confirm with your city’s waste management agency whether they allow the collection of shredded paper alongside curbside trash.

Sometimes, they may demand that the paper be packed in a certain way before pick up. For example, some waste management agencies require that the shredded papers be separated from the rest of the items in your trash bag.

Drop it off at designated sites

The process of recycling shredded paper varies from state to state. Please consult with your waste management agency first to know how they handle shredded paper. There may be some designated points for collecting shredded papers or some facilities that do standard recycling of these papers. Find out if there are fees attached to dropping off the papers or if there is a limit to the number of papers you can drop.

Take back programs

Some places have designated days known as ‘Take Back Days.’ On these days, the community takes part in a large-scale collection. Such programs offer on-site shredding and even allow you to come with tons of already shredded papers.

If you have tons of unused paper in your home or place of work, look around for sites that offer this kind of service.

How To Reuse Shredded Papers


Shredded paper is excellent for your compost pile due to its high carbon content. So long as the paper does not have a high quantity of toxic materials such as coloured ink or glossy coating (standard in magazines), it is perfectly biodegradable.

Papers that you can use in this manner range from thin newsprints to rigid cardboards; provided they are shredded into small pieces; they can easily break down.

Simply add the shredded paper in your layer of compost alongside leaves, straw, or sawdust, and then cover it with green layers. The green layers may consist of grass clippings, coffee grounds, fruit scraps, and vegetables.

Pet bedding

Additionally, you can also use shredded paper to line pet beds. Bundle up shredded paper to form soft, comfortable bedding for your small family pets. This is very useful because it is easy to clean and pick up after, and since the paper is in endless supply, you will always have enough shredded paper to refresh your pet's bedding.


Because of the lightweight nature of shredded papers and how easy they are to come by, you can also use them for shipping. It works perfectly as a filler for boxes and prevents other fragile materials from shifting while in transit.

So, you can keep them, and when next you need to send a fragile material to a friend, use the shreds to protect it from damage.


If the shredded papers are biodegradable, you can turn them into healthy soil for your garden. During cold periods, place the shredded paper around the base of your pot plants or trees to serve as protection from frost and freezing.

In the garden, you can sprinkle the papers just as you would spread mulch and then use it as a landscape covering to help with moisture retention and to protect plant roots.

Why Is It Hard To Recycle Shredded Papers?

The reason is that in paper recycling, papers with longer fibres have a higher value. On the other hand, Shredded paper has had its fibre length shortened through shredding, which reduces its value.

Contact A Recycling Specialist

Different firms specialise in recycling shredded papers. So, whether in your home or office, they are ready to assist you with this task at very reasonable pricing while saving you a lot of stress. It is worth giving it a try!