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How to Recycle Shredded Paper at SCARCE

Mar 05 2019

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Did you know that shredded paper is not accepted in most curbside recycling programs? Though paper is recyclable, shredded paper presents a unique problem: the tiny shreds simply can’t make it through the recycling sorting process. Instead, they gum up the machinery or cause a paper confetti explosion. Even if you put it in a bag* many recyclers won’t accept it.

*Note: Do not place any recyclables in bags – even paper ones. When sorting, recyclers have to rip them open to see what is inside (no time!) and machinery clogs from plastic bags are one of their biggest headaches.

To continue to serve our community, SCARCE is now happy to accept shredded paper for recycling.

How to Recycle Shredded Paper at SCARCE:

  1. Sort and shred your paper documents at home. Remove all non-paper items before shredding including plastic page protectors, disks, CDs, credit cards, and paper clips.
  2. Collect your paper shreds in a paper grocery bag and staple shut.
  3. Drop off up to 3 bags of shredded paper at SCARCE during our business hours. If you have a larger quantity, please call us 630-545-9710.

Why can SCARCE recycle shredded paper?

SCARCE can recycle shredded paper because paper and paper only will be collected in one large recycling bin. It will then be picked up by a paper recycling company. Since it’s all paper, it doesn’t need to be sorted prior to recycling and avoids all the problems that shredded paper faces in your typical mixed curbside recycling program.

I Don’t Shred My Paper Myself – Is it Getting Recycled?

If you take your documents to a be shredded at an event or store that provides the service (such as UPS, Fedex or Staples) then rest assured that your paper is getting recycled. Just like SCARCE, those outlets are able to recycle the paper shreds because it doesn’t need any sorting (unlike items in a curbside recycling program).

Other Options for Shredded Paper

There are eco-friendly options other than simply recycling your shredded paper. It can be used in a compost pile just like dry leaves or as bedding for small animals. Or you could use it as an eco-friendly packing material.

The Best Way to Deal with Shredded Paper

Your best option for dealing with shredded paper? Reduce how much paper you need to shred in the first place! Opt for online statements when practical. If you prefer hard copies, pull out the mandatory privacy notices, return mail envelopes and other papers they include that do not contain confidential information before shredding. If you go to the extreme of shredding anything with your address on it, simply rip your address off that magazine or junk mail rather than shredding the whole lot.

Do you still have questions about shredded paper recycling? Please feel free to give us a call! We’re happy to answer them.

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