Can you Recycle Shredded Paper and How to

If you are like most people, you probably have a few bin liners full of shredded paper lying around your house. You might even be wondering if recycling shredded paper is possible and what the process involves.

Paper is one of the most commonly and easily recycled products, but shredded paper presents different challenges. Improper disposal may cause your paper to end up in a landfill. 

If the paper is not disposed of properly, it might end up in a landfill. Although shredded paper can be recycled, there are some things to consider first.

Shredding breaks down the fibers that hold the paper together, making it less sturdy and valuable. Secondly, paper products cut into shreds can be sorted differently than whole pieces of paper, like newspapers and cardboard boxes.

This blog post will discuss everything you need to know about recycling shredded paper. Keep reading for more information!

Can you Recycle Shredded Paper and How to: Process of  Recycling

Though you may feel better once your personal information is in pieces, it is more environmentally friendly *not* to shred the paper.

If you can help it, try reusing or destroying the paper another way. Mark out or blacken the areas with sensitive data. You could use blank parts as scratch pads, drawing/craft pages, or prints.

If you want to recycle your shredded paper, there are a few extra steps you will need to take. Unlike whole pieces of paper, shredding alters the composition of the paper and makes it more difficult to recycle.

Here’s what you can do to ensure that your shredded paper gets recycled.

shredded paper for boxes
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Check Your Local Curbside Pickup

A curbside collection of shredded paper is uncommon, so please check with your town’s or city’s waste management program to see if this service is available.

The recycling center staff may have specifications on how they want you to collect the paper. For example, some programs may ask that you place the paper in a box or bag.

Drop Off

Check with your local government regulations to find out the protocol for recycling shredded paper in your area. There may be designated sites for collection, or it may be a part of the standard recycling process.

Before you use a drop-off paper recycling service, check if there are any fees or limits on how much paper can be recycled.

Take Back Programs

In some locations, there are designated days when people can come and recycle a large volume of documents. The event might also offer shredding services or the opportunity to bring already shredded documents from home.

If you need help with what to do with your extra paper, look into whether or not your area has recycling options.

Ways to Reuse Shredded Paper 

To avoid any complications, try not to shred paper. Let’s brainstorm a few ideas before automatically going for the latter option. Something as easy as using old sheets of paper for grocery lists or note-taking helps reduce wastefulness.

If you have the opportunity, choose paper that doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and instead uses plant-based inks. That way, when you are done with it, you can compost the paper and put it back into nature.

See if anyone at your office or home can use it before getting rid of it. Art groups and after-school programs sometimes take the shredded paper off your hands for their teaching centers and classrooms.

If you don’t have such facilities near you, though it can be messy to work with, shredded paper can be reused around the house in various ways.


High-carbon components like shredded paper are perfect for your composting pile. You can compost all varieties of paper as long as it doesn’t have toxic inks or glossy coatings.

To ensure the paper breaks down easily, shred it into small pieces first. To make a compost pile, start with a layer of “browns” like shredded paper, leaves, sawdust, and straw.

Cover that with a layer of “greens” like vegetable and fruit scraps, grass clippings, and coffee grounds.


Shredded paper makes for great bedding for small pets or birds. It is soft and comfy and bundles nicely. If you use it as a lining or insulating agent, picking up and cleaning afterward is much simpler.

Also, considering that shredded bills and other documents will never stop arriving, you will always have a ready supply to renew your pet’s living space.


Shredded paper is a great way to keep your belongings safe while shipping them. It is lightweight and easy to find, so it is perfect for packing boxes and filling spaces around fragile items.

Keep some on hand with other materials and supplies, so you are ready the next time you need to mail something important.

Plants and Gardens

Use compostable paper products in your home or office whenever possible so that, once it is fulfilled their original purpose, you can add them to your garden or farm and turn it into nutrient-rich soil.

The best way to use your shredded paper during colder months is by placing it around the base of potted plants or trees. This will protect them from Frost and other freezing temperatures.

You can also sprinkle the paper in your garden, as you would with mulch. By doing this, you encourage moisture retention and root coverage.

Tips to Follow When Recycling Shredded Paper

  • Make sure to sort the paper from other materials before recycling.
  • Take off all staples, plastic covers, and metal rings attached to the paper.
  • Check with local drop-off centers for instructions on how much-shredded paper can be recycled and if there is any associated fee.
  • When composting or mulching with shredded paper, shred it into small pieces.
  • Try to find ways to reuse the paper before recycling or disposing of it.
  • Put only biodegradable and non-toxic inks on the paper you want to recycle.

Recycling shredded paper is possible but more challenging than recycling regular paper.

However, with a few extra steps and thoughtful effort, you can help save the planet by reducing waste and reusing materials whenever possible.

The Bottom Line

Shredded paper can be recycled, although the process is a bit more labor-intensive than regular recycling. It is best to check with your local drop-off center for specific instructions on how much-shredded paper they accept and if there is any associated fee.

Furthermore, you can also try to reuse or compost the paper before disposing of it. With a little extra effort and creative thinking, you can help save the planet, one shred of paper at a time.


Can you put shredded paper in the paper bin?

If you have shredded paper, dispose of it in your mixed recycling bin or blue bag.
If you produce more significant quantities of paper/cardboard, segregate it and get a paper/cardboard recycling bin instead of placing it in mixed recycling.

How long does shredded paper take to decompose?

Paper is a highly recyclable household item that only takes 2 to 6 weeks to decompose. However, it can also be recycled and turned into new products.

Additional Contents

  1. Can you Recycle Wrapping Paper and How to
  2. Can you Recycle Glass and How to: Things to Know
  3. Can You Recycle Bubble Wrap and How to
  4. Where to Recycle Cardboard and How to: 5 Best Ways
  5. 10 Best Recycle Bins For Home To Collect Waste