5 Tips for Getting Rid of Shredded Paper in an Environmentally Friendly Way

Posted on: 17 May 2016

If you are in charge of maintaining the shredding program for your office, then ordering an appropriate shredding machine is just your first step. You'll also need to educate employees about what should be shredded and find a way to dispose of shredded documents. If you need an environmentally friendly approach to the disposal of your shredded documents, try one of these tips. 

1. Only Shred Documents That Require It

Paper that is not shredded or that is shredded in strips as opposed to particles is a better candidate for recycling. This is because the fibers have not been cut and the paper can be recycled into more products than it could if it were thoroughly shredded paper. Because of this, you should only shred documents that require shredding for security or confidentiality reasons. Keep in mind that some documents may have confidential information that needs to be shredded on some pages but not all pages. You can separate out these pages to minimize your shredding. 

Additionally, you should get a shredder that produces the largest pieces that are acceptable to your company. For example, low-security documents can be shredded into strips while high-security documents require a crosscut shredder. Speak with a representative of a company that sells Destroyit 4002 shredders and other types to learn more.

2. Consider a Recycling Company that Offers Confidentiality and Confirmation of Document Destruction 

Some recycling companies offer confidentiality and confirmation of document destruction as part of their services. If you choose a recycling company that offers these services, you may be able to shred fewer documents or choose a slightly larger shred size in order to facilitate the recycling of your company's documents. 

3. Make Sure You Use the Right Container to Hold Your Shredded Paper 

Many recycling facilities will not accept shredded paper either in paper bags or in plastic bags. Some will not accept shredded paper in both of these containers, which means if your paper is shredded too finely to be contained in a recycling bin, then you will not be able to recycle it with that particular company. To make sure your shredded paper is accepted, call your recycling company and ask what type of containers you can use for shredded paper. If they will not accept paper or plastic bags and you have finely shredded documents, you may consider switching recycling companies. 

4. Consider Compost Instead of Recycling 

While tinier particles are difficult to recycle, they are perfect for composting. This is because the smaller paper is, the more quickly it will decompose when put into a compost pile. Many cities are beginning to offer large-scale community composting programs that may be happy to accept your shredded paper as part of their compost. As an added bonus, many of these programs are less strict than recycling companies about what types of containers you can put your shredded documents in. 

However, if a program is just beginning in your area, the directors may not have the capacity to accept large amounts of shredded paper. If you produce high quantities, you may want to look into multiple programs. Program facilitators will also most likely not be able to offer confirmation of destruction of documents, as the compost process can take longer than the recycling process to destroy your shredded particles. 

5. Pair with Other Businesses That Shred Documents

If you are unable to find a local recycling center or compost program that accepts shredded paper, then you may consider combining with other local businesses who shred paper to figure out a solution for your city. Such a solution may include starting a community compost program of your own or lobbying for local recycling centers to accept shredded paper. Either option can help you discard your shredded paper in an environmentally friendly way and make your company more appealing to environmentally conscious consumers. 

Choosing an environmentally friendly way to dispose of shredded paper is often a balancing act between security and protecting the environment. By defining your company's approach you will be more aware of how you can reduce your paper impact on the environment.