According to a survey, the average American consumes about 700 pounds of paper annually. Thus, it becomes non-negotiable to find out ways to compensate for all the harm paper consumption is causing to the environment. Shredding your important documents instead of simply disposing of them is one of the most significant eco-friendly measures you can take. Does shredding have a positive impact on the environment? Yes. As a proud business owner, you are probably aware of the business benefits of shredding your waste paper. It reduces your carbon footprint, protects you from identity theft, and increases the reuse of paper. Let’s can Shredded Paper be Recycled?
Can Shredded Paper be Recycled?
Yes. Recycling shredded paper is possible. However, it can’t be denied that there are some restrictions to recycling shredded paper. Paper’s inherent fibers lose some of their strength during the process of shredding, which reduces its value and capacity to be recycled.
Secondly, paper sliced into shreds cannot be sorted in the same way as unbroken pieces. Regular paper is simple to manage for recycling processes such as bundling, stacking, and pulp breakdown. However, shreds can clump up and mess with machinery and filters.
As a result, the recycling facilities that collect the shreds normally transfer them to special locations. It takes extra money and time. One of the materials that are most readily recycled is paper. But there are various difficulties with shredded paper. If disposed of improperly, it can end up in a landfill.
Why Recycle Shredded Paper?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency survey, paper products make up more than 23.1% of all municipal solid waste. And approximately only 66% of total paper waste is recovered through recycling.
Any business that recycles its discarded paper products is preventing that recycled paper from going into a landfill, making new recycled products that would have otherwise been made of new raw materials. At the same time, you protect important business documents from being leaked or misused through your garbage.
How to Recycle Shredded Paper?
Video by RecycleNow.
- Read the manual properly.
- Prepare well for emptying your paper shredder, as most programs ask you to put the shredded paper in a large container or plastic bag. Make sure to check with your local authorities.
- If you have decided on partnering with a commercial shredding business along with your business, then ask for a certificate of destruction once the recycling is done.
- Check for curbside pickup near you. Some agencies will let you send the shredded paper out with curbside collections, depending on where you live. They could also demand that the paper be ready a certain way before pickup. However, it’s not a common practice.
- Different localities and states have different rules for shredded paper recycling. There might be specific facilities set aside, or they might be integrated into the regular recycling facility in your location. Identify any fees associated with the drop-off service and any restrictions on the paper volume that may be brought in.
Shredded Paper Recycling Process
Shredded paper is grouped together as mixed paper, so the first stage of recycling is to separate it from cardboard, office paper, and newspapers. It is then baled and sent to the mill.
The mill has machines called pulpers that inject water and certain chemicals which break the paper down into fibers. The ink and bonding are then removed, after which the fibers are again rolled and dried, then sent off to make new products.
Mixed fiber does not have as much quality as virgin paper, and its fibers are smaller than cardboard or office paper. This paper is recycled into lesser-quality paper products such as coffee filters, egg cartons, and paper towels.
How to Reuse Shredded Paper?
You can recycle shredded paper, but it may complicate the recycling process. Thus, it’s wise to think of ways to reuse shredded paper before opting for that route. Their waste can be reduced by being a little innovative and creative. Here are a few ideas:-
Shipping & Packaging
Shredded paper is perfect for shipping and packaging. It is useful as a box filler and for preventing fragile things from shifting and moving while being transported. The fact that it is portable and simple to get does help.
Related article Sustainable Packaging
You might wonder if shredded paper can be composted. You will be happy to know that paper scraps make an excellent high-carbon addition to your compost pile, provided you opt for chemical-free paper, avoid glossy finish like magazines, and use plant-based ink.
Related article What is Composting?
Planting & Gardening
Paper scraps can be transformed into nourishing soil for your farm or garden. You can use them as protection around the base of potted plants or trees in winter. They can be used as mulch and landscape bedding in the gardens to improve root cover and hydration.
Bedding for Pets
Bundles of shredded paper can be used as soft, comfortable bedding for tiny household pets or birds. It is simple to clean up after when used as a liner or insulating layer.
Is Shredded Paper Sustainable?
Paper shredding can be a very environmentally favorable action if a business’ operations depend on the use of paper in large quantities. Recycling slows down deforestation and gives the environment time to replant more trees.
How Paper Shredding Promotes Sustainability?
Sustainable paper shredding means maintaining the balance with the environment and social and economic infrastructure for future generations. This means that your office implements new policies and procedures to minimize its environmental impact and reduce its carbon footprint.
Reduction of Destroying Forests
A lot of forests are chopped down annually to supplement paper demand. Trees are important to our environment as they give off oxygen, support entire ecosystems and improve air quality.
Humans are causing irreparable damage to the environment by polluting the air, which damages our ozone layer by chopping down virgin forests. The shredding paper offers a type of solution as the shredded paper will be recycled.
Shredded paper is the perfect by-product to compost. Opting to dispose of your shredded paper in an environmentally friendly way keeps it from the landfill. Your old documents will be composted into a rich organic mixture that’s great for soil and plants.
Economically Helping the Environment
The cost to produce paper is quite expensive as it includes labor costs, fuel costs, transport costs, machine costs, chemical costs, and more. By shredding and recycling documents, you are reducing the damage and costs of paper production.
To make sure that you get all the environmental and economic benefits, you should practice document shredding in both your home and workplace.
Related article The Economics of Recycling
This can be done as there is a reduction in the number of trees that are needed for paper, as the more paper that is shredded and recycled, the fewer trees are cut down. Paper can be recycled between 5-7 times.
Related article Landfill Waste Compaction Strategies
Reduces Water Consumption
Did you know that you need 324 liters of water to manufacture just one kilogram of paper? The manufacture of paper requires the largest industrial use of water on a per-pound-of-paper basis. Paper manufacturing consumes the third largest amount of fossil fuels worldwide.
Can shredded paper be composted?
The majority of paper shreds are excellent additions to a composting “browns” mixture. Glossy magazine-style paper and any paper with hazardous ink are the exceptions and should not be composted.
Is shredded paper accepted at recycling facilities?
Shredded paper is recyclable, like normal paper. But where it can be dropped off for recycling is governed differently by states and towns. Consult your community’s waste management program or department of sanitation for the appropriate procedures.
Is it better to recycle or discard paper that has been shredded?
Shreds of paper can be recycled. Yes. It isn’t easy to recycle shredded paper. The process is more complicated. Still, recycling is always important and preferable to disposal for the sake of sustainability.
Keep your sensitive information secure and dispose of it in the most eco-friendly way using good paper shredders for business from Compactor Management Company!
Compactor Management Company (former Northern California Compactors, Inc.) offers installation and support services for waste recycling equipment such as waste compactors, balers, shredders & conveyor systems. Established in 1981, it offers waste management solutions across the United States.