Does Shredded Paper Go In The Recycling Bin?

Shredded paper pieces can be obtained from various resources, such as when you run a books binding shop. Or if you have used scissors and cut some shredded papers of those important files to eliminate secret information. But does shredded paper go in the recycling bin, or is there any other way to get rid of them? People have a lot of ambiguities regarding shredded papers as to whether they are recyclable or not. 

Therefore, please keep reading till the end to find out how you decompose those shredded pieces of paper. Things are going to be easier and a lot more interesting if you’ll pay attention!

Does Shredded Paper Really Go Into The Recycling Bin?

Before you think of shredded paper, you should know that it doesn’t matter if it is shredded. It is still paper.

And that’s a truth about the paper that it can be recycled. However, we are unsure whether we should keep the shredded pieces in recycling bins due to their size and weight or think of something else. 

Listen, mate; the talk is simple. 

It is okay if you like to keep shredded papers in recycling bins because of any facility in your area that even provides the services of recycling these papers. But it is not always the same case. Sometimes, shredded papers can be recycled and kept in certain specific recycling bins. Other times, they are just thrown away and become part of the garbage waste. 

So, if you are advised to keep these shredded papers in the recycling bins or have any recycling unit nearby that can also treat them, you can keep them in the recycling bin. 

But there are other situations when you find these papers non-recyclable, and I will let you know all about them. Please keep reading!

Can You Recycle Shredded Papers?

Shredded papers are usually made by cutting all those important files, documents, and a huge volume of stuff. 

It gives you a secure way to keep the information classified and safe from all the thefts, letters, and whoever is behind you. 

But what to do with shredded papers? Are they recyclable, or should you think of something else? Well, this situation is answered in two ways.

Either these are not recyclable at all due to certain reasons. Or you can recycle shredded papers if you know how exactly to do so. Both situations are discussed as follows. Please have a look!

When Shredded Papers Cannot Be Recycled:

That’s true that when you produce such small pieces of paper, they are already recycled. These are the places, including your home or office, where you cut them into small pieces. 

Through this, they will only lead towards landfill waste. 

That’s because their size and quantity become so small, which most recycling units in your town do not accept. Therefore, these cannot be recycled. 

On the other hand, the recycling process to separate and sort these shredded pieces out of the main garbage can becomes difficult. 

Such a case ultimately leads you towards throwing these pieces away instead of looking for any recycling facility. 

This thing with recycling shredded papers becomes even more complicated when you keep them in the same recycling bin or waste bin in which the other garbage waste is present. 

That’s because sorting different materials will be difficult, resulting in a lot of energy, time, and money consumption. 

Shredded paper pieces are so small that they fall off from the rollers that separate these materials for the recycling process and are usually not considered for recycling separately. 

When Shredded Papers Can Be Recycled:

Shredded papers are only recyclable or could be sent to a nearby recycling unit if that unit or facility accepts these papers for recycling purposes. 

In this case, a few recycling units accept such material and recycle it. Because they have such machinery which can even treat such small pieces of paper with care and make them useable for something entirely new. 

In addition, if you don’t bag them accurately, they will be picked by any waste management collecting company to make them reach the nearby landfill.

Besides, some shredded companies provide these services to recycle any shredded item without worrying, even if these are small pieces of paper. 

You have to find it in your nearby area if you want to send these papers to the recycling facility. 

Where To Send Shredded Paper For Recycling?

It is not okay and not appropriate to send just a few sheets of those shredded pieces to any recycling unit for recycling purposes. 

Because they may not accept it. However, some large scaled shredded companies are involved in the operations or procedures for creating large bales of shredded paper. 

These bales can easily be managed by those recycling facilities. 

Therefore, sharing those shredded pieces of paper with any professional and well-known shredding service is always recommended. 

They will be the only ones accepting these papers and recycling them from scratch. 

Moreover, not in every case, they don’t like to accept the small number of shredded paper sheets. 

Because only in the USA, there are large companies that would easily accept your shredded paper sheets, even in small quantities, for some cash in return. These are usually sold at 1 or 2 dollars per sheet.

The rest is simple and understood, with a large volume of shredded pieces for recycling. They might have waste collection facilities that don’t let you visit the plant site. 

Their buddies visit your house in a large van and pick all the collected shredded pieces up if you do it on a regular basis. Because they can’t just let such a huge quantity of paper away or be part of those landfills. 

If Recyclable, How Shredded Papers Are Recycled?

The process of recycling shredded paper is very easy to understand. But it comes with some consequences. 

Like, if the paper strips are latterly very small, these won’t go for the recycling process. 

The difficulty is that most high-end recycling facilities use massive screens to dry the pulped paper. 

At that moment, the small bits of paper or strips don’t usually stick with the wall and randomly fall off the screens.

But this is not always the situation you have to face. This is totally simple. Please follow the steps to learn how recycling with shredded paper works.

Organization Of Shredded Paper:

Most organizations classify these shredded papers as mixed papers. Therefore the first thing companies do is to separate this paper according to their very specific categories. 

This is separated into cardboard, newspaper grade, and office paper. After that, the remaining shredded paper is baled and sent to the nearest recycling factory or unit. 

Processing Through The Machines:

When this shredded paper reaches the factory or that recycling facility, this is passed through the machines. 

These machines are basically made for such type of recycling purposes only. Therefore, these machines or pulpers greatly introduce the such shredded paper to the water and chemicals. 

This process breaks those shredded papers even into smaller pieces called fibers. 

Removing Printing From The Papers:

After the above step, any type of ink or stain is removed from these papers. When this is done, the paper fibers bond with each other. 

Rolling And Drying Of Fibers:

In the final step, these fibers are rolled and dried. When such a thing is done, they are sent off for the production of some new products. 

In this way, the whole recycling process of shredded papers completes. 

Products From Shredded Papers:

There is a reason that mixed paper fibers are usually smaller in size than all those cardboard and office papers.

Therefore, such paper is recycled into lesser quality paper products. This includes making products like coffee filters, paper towels, and cartons you use to keep eggs. 

Can I Put Shredded Paper In My Green Bin?

Yes, a green bin is usually used to collect waste like paper and other related stuff. The thing is, a green recycling bin is undoubtedly a good place to keep these shredded pieces. 

But for easy waste management and collection of recyclables, consider putting these shredded pieces only in one bin. 

I mean, even if you choose a green bin for that, keep it in mind to have only shredded paper pieces inside it. Nothing more or less shall be there. 

Read more about what can I put in my recycling bin by clicking the highlighted text to know more about the colors of recycling bins. 

Can I Recycle Shredded Paper In A Plastic Bag?

When recyclable and accepted by your nearest recycling town or facility, shredded paper is usually kept in some dedicated recycling bins. 

They just dispose of the bin and take the waste away. However, even if you keep these paper pieces in a separate or universal recycling bin, consider putting them into a plastic bag first. 

Because in this way, which bag has the shredded paper will be organized so that they should go to their dedicated recycling side. 

Final Thoughts:

Shredded paper is sometimes recyclable and sometimes not. So, the answer to “ does shredded paper go in the recycling bin” will be decided by the local waste collectors. Suppose they have plants or machinery to recycle such strips of shredded pieces. In that case, they will ask you to keep these papers in specific recycling bins. On the other hand, they will go to landfill waste. So, I hope you have found your answer if you have read this guide. 

Let me know if you have further queries to ask. Because I am always here. But thanks for reading, being here, and spending time. See you around!


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  3. Prakash, N., 2012. Empowering Women Using Environmentally Friendly Technology in Paper Recycling. In Linking Environment, Democracy and Gender (Vol. 20, pp. 125-136). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.