Shredded paper does not need to go to waste. Recycling it is as easy as placing it in paper bags and transporting it to a recycling facility, or giving it to an organisation that could use it. Some people compost shredded paper in regular compost bins, or add it to flower and vegetable gardens as an additive to the soil. Others use shredded paper as an added heat source, burning it along with other combustibles in an approved fireplace or outdoor fire pit.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Paper bags
- Tape or Staples
- Compost bin (optional)
- Shovel (optional)
- Pitchfork (optional)
Call your local recycling facility to see if you can bring the shredded paper directly to the facility. Alternately, if you are not able to kerbside recycle the shredded paper, call local humane societies, pet shelters, pet stores and school districts to see if they will accept shredded paper donations.
Place the shredded paper into a paper bag, leaving enough room at the top to fold the top over. You can try to fit more into the paper bag by keeping one hand pressed down on the pile as you use your other hand to stuff more into the bag. Attempting to stuff more into the paper may rip the sides of the bag, depending on how you do it, so exercise caution.
Fold the top of the paper bag over and tape it shut or secure it by stapling it. You can secure it at each corner, along the entire length of the bag, or just once in the middle. The goal is to secure it and make sure it is closed, and the bag does not have to be pretty.
Transport it to the proper facility.
Call your local feed stores or co-op grocery stores and ask if they accept donations of shredded paper for composting. If they don't, consider giving it to a friend who composts or you can start composting it yourself.
Separate coloured paper from black and white paper before you shred it (Ref 2). If it is already shredded do your best to remove pieces that have coloured ink.
Add the black and white shredded paper to your compost bin in layers. Alternate the paper layers with other organic material such as leaves, banana peels, coffee grounds and grass clippings.
Stir the compost bin with a shovel or pitchfork. Recover the bin.
Tips and warnings
- Take out any clasps, staples, or plastic see-through windows, before shredding the paper to avoid damaging the paper shredder. A large wooden dowel can be substituted for a shovel or pitchfork when needed, to stir a compost pile.
- If your local recycling ordinances prohibit placing shredded paper into kerbside recycle bins, then do not violate this ordinance. Shredded papers have been known to cause recycling sorting machines to clog (Ref 1).
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