Is Shredded Paper Recyclable?

Shredded paper with identifying information is a safety precaution. You are protecting your identity from potential thieves. 

Shredding old documents is a part of the annual reorganizing process, but what happens to the tiny scraps of paper?

Do you throw it in the trash or is shredded paper recyclable?

Shredded Paper

Is Shredded Paper Recyclable?

Most paper products are recyclable including magazines and newspapers. So, is shredded paper recyclable? The surprising answer is ‘no’.

What’s even more confusing is your paper receipts and identifiable documents can go in the recycling bin.

There are exceptions to what recycling facilities accept. The type of ink affects recycling, along with the paper. Overall, most papers are recyclable.

Why isn’t shredded paper recyclable? It comes down to the recycler’s sorting process. Most facilities don’t have the equipment to sort and categorize shredded paper.

Shredded Paper

How Do You Dispose of Shredded Paper?

You can’t put shredded paper in a recycling bin, but you have other options than the trash. At the right facility, shredded paper is recyclable.

Use a cardboard or plastic bag to store the shreds out of the way. Make sure the bag or container is also recyclable or reusable. Most cities hold collection events at least once or twice a year. Grab your box or bag of shredded paper and drop it off at the event.

Another option is finding a recycling center near you that accepts shredded paper. You can check your local government website. Most have a section dedicated to recycling.

An online search can also help you find a recycling organization. Earth 911 has an extensive list of recyclers across the country. Input your zip code, and the search engine does the rest.

Shredded Paper

What’s the Best Thing to Do with Shredded Paper?

The best thing to do with shredded paper is to turn it over to a recycling center. Remember, you can’t put the tiny pieces of paper in the recycling bin. Your curbside service will not pick it up.

You can drop off your shredded paper at specific facilities or wait for a community recycling event.

Did you know you can reuse shredded paper? It works great as packing material or as a liner for a litter box. If you love roaring fires in the winter, use your shredded paper as kindling. Roll scraps of paper into balls and place them underneath the logs.

Shredded paper can also keep silk flower stems in place. Stuff some shredded paper in a vase to keep the stems from moving around. You can even use your paper scraps for art projects.

Shredded Paper

What Do Shredding Companies Do with the Shredded Paper?

Ever wonder what happens to your shredded paper after taking it for recycling? What do recyclers do with the paper scraps?

The first step is separating the paper by grade and type. After sorting, the paper goes into a compressing machine. The machine forms solid bales out of the paper shreds.

The bales go to paper mills to make a variety of household items including, napkins, toilet paper, and paper towels.

If you want to know if a product is made from shredded paper, look for the recycling symbol on the packaging.

Shredded Paper

Is Shredded Paper Good for the Garden?

Paper is biodegradable, meaning it breaks down in a relatively short time. Unlike some household items, paper decomposes in a few weeks or months.

Go ahead and add shredded paper to your compost pile. It only takes between two and four weeks for the scraps to decompose. Most inks are eco-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about ruining the compost pile.

You can use shredded paper as mulch. Adding a layer of shredded paper around garden plants helps the soil retain moisture. You water less often in the summer. It can also protect root systems from winter freezes.

Recyclable Paper


Shredded paper is recyclable, just not by your curbside service. They will not accept recycling containing shredded paper.

You can find creative uses for your shredded paper at home. You can use it in the garden, as kindling, or for art projects.

If you don’t have a use for paper scraps, wait for a community recycling event. You can drop off the paper shreds for recycling free of charge.

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