How to Recycle Your Shredded Paper

With growing concern over issues like deforestation and global warming, there’s never been a better time to make sure you’re recycling. Most of us own council-provided recycling bins, which can be filled with plastics, paper and card, metals and many other products or materials displaying the arrow recycle logo. Defra’s government statistics show that paper and card make up to 40% of these recycled materials in the home, usually through a combination of food packaging, newspapers and magazines, and unwanted mail. However, what about those sensitive or important documents which you don’t want in the hands of others?

Things like bank statements, bills, or any other letters containing your name and address pose the risk of identity theft or unauthorised payments being made if they get into the wrong hands. This is why most of us now own a shredder to safely dispose of these sensitive documents. However, how many of us actually take the time to recycle this shredded paper? And is it even possible?

The easiest way to solve this riddle is to contact your local council and ask – they will usually give you information on your nearest recycling centre. Before you begin throwing bags of shredded paper onto the back seat of your car though, do make sure to check that your local council recycling centre can deal with shredded paper. Not all paper recycling facilities are capable of handling this material due to its size and consistency. Some mills will also refuse shredded paper simply because the smaller strips have a shorter fibre length, and could make weaker paper.

Alternatively, your local council may have a recycling collection service. This can be especially handy for the elderly, disabled or anyone who would struggle to find transport.

However, even if your council doesn’t accept your shredded paper, you can still find plenty of use for it around the home. Shredded paper from documents and newspapers – but not glossy magazines – can be used in garden compost, alongside your usual vegetables, clippings, leaves and the like. You’ll be helping your garden while also eliminating the risk of anyone stealing your confidential details.

If you haven’t been fooled by our recent heat wave here in the United Kingdom and are already expecting the colder months, you may also want to keep your shredded paper for use as kindling on bonfires. Just a week’s shredding could be enough to start several large fires, and you might even be able to help friends out with theirs too. The beginning of a fire is usually the most frustrating part to get going, sometimes even accompanied by a chorus of swear words! So why not save complaints from neighbours or high blood pressure by reusing your shredded paper as kindling.

Even if you don’t own a garden for compost or bonfires, you may still own a pet which needs a litter tray – and guess what you can use as a substitute for regular pet litter? That’s right, another great use for your shredded paper!

These are just a few of the many uses which can be found for recycled shredded paper. Why not contact your local council today, and if they can’t collect it, see what you could accomplish around the house!