When it comes to paper and paper shredding, there are a number of ways to try and be as eco-friendly as possible. According to Recycle Now as a nation we get through 12.5 million tonnes of paper every year, with around 24 trees being used to make 1 ton of paper. More and more of us are using recycled paper and in turn recycling our paper more efficiently – but we can’t simply throw sensitive documents into the recycling bin.
For light shredding, the most eco-friendly choice is a manual or ‘hand crank’ shredder.
Fortunately, there are several ways that we can be kind to the environment when shredding confidential papers and other material.
For light shredding, the most eco-friendly choice is a manual or ‘hand crank’ shredder. Operated manually by the turn of a handle, these shredders will typically cut A4 sheets of paper into 3mm wide strips. Certain models will even cut tougher materials like CDs, DVDs and credit cards. Hand operated shredders use no electricity whatsoever, making them particularly kind to the environment – although you would be unlikely to use them for any high volume of shredding.
For the more frequent or heavier shredding, you’ll want to use an electric shredder. However, certain models can be considered more eco-friendly than others. For example, consult your shredder’s instruction manual and look for a power save option, which usually triggers a low-power or standby mode when the unit hasn’t been used for a period of time.
One of the shredder manufacturers Swordfish have also produced an eco-friendly, Carbon Neutral range of shredders under the name GoECOlife. All products in the range meet the standards of the CarbonFree Certification Program. This program establishes the carbon footprint of a product, which is then set off through investment in renewable energy and conservation projects that reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The result is a range of shredders that are certified Carbon Neutral with a zero carbon footprint – and they are a great way to do your bit for the environment if you decide to invest in one!
...as a nation we get through 12.5 million tonnes of paper every year...
There are currently three shredders in the GoECOlife range, from an 8-sheet to a 12-sheet model and all of them feature quiet operation and ZeroJam overfeed prevention technology. The 12-sheet model will also shred CDs and DVDs too. Plus, the shredders come with an energy saving feature to ensure they don’t consume excess power when not in use.
Another shredder feature you can look out for in order to make recycling easier is separate bins for the different types of shredded material (e.g. one for paper and one for CDs/DVDs). This helps when the time comes to recycle.
Lastly, consider oiling your shredder and the type of shredder oil you use. Oiling your shredder frequently will boost its efficiency which in turn can save both time and electricity. Some oils also actively state their eco-friendly credentials, such as Fellowes shredder oil which is non-toxic and completely bio-degradable. Swordfish’s oils are also vegetable-based, biodegradable and environmentally friendly, making them a good choice for any environmentally-conscious individuals or businesses.
Whether you choose a manual shredder for your basic shredding, accessories like the Swordfish eco-friendly shredder oils, or a shredder which has itself been designed to minimise power use, there are certainly options to be kinder to the environment when shredding your confidential documents. Just as shredding can help protect us from identity theft or fraud, making these minor adjustments can help towards protecting the environment too.
For more eco-friendly shredding tips, see here for our guide to how you can recycle your shredded paper.