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How to recycle shredded paper

October 4, 2019

What to do with all that shredded paper… ?

If you thought you could just toss it in your recycling bin and be done with it, you were wrong.

For one, loose shredded paper doesn’t stay put. Introduce it to a strong gust of wind and its everywhere it shouldn’t be. Secondly, shredded paper is pretty much unsortable. It slips through your recycling centre’s machinery and, again, ends up everywhere it shouldn’t be. Instead of getting turned into big beautiful bales of paper that would normally get pulped and recycled into new paper products, it gets landfilled.

But fret not, you can recycle your shredded paper. It just takes a little bit of prep.

Keep it contained

In most cities, shredded paper is recyclable as long as it’s contained. How you do that depends entirely on where you live. Some cities want shredded paper in clear plastic bags. Others want it in paper bags or cardboard boxes.

I know. Confusing. Unfortunately, we don’t make the rules. But we are trying to make things a little simpler for you. If your city’s part of our network, check out the Recycle Coach app. We’ll hook you up with all the waste and recycling info you need—including the right way to recycle your shredded paper.

Go to a shredding event

Cities host paper shredding events all the time. Just drop off any extra paper you have lying around, and your city will handle the rest. Most will also take back shredded paper as long as it’s bagged.

Compost it

Cities that have compost programs might want you to include shredded paper in your organics bin instead of recycling it. By the way, same rules apply to shredded paper that’s tossed in your organics bin: make sure it’s contained! Check with your city or our app for more info.

If you’re rocking your very own compost pile, feel free to add shredded paper to the mix. It makes very good brown matter. You can even reuse it—to pack fragile items, to make papier mache, or as mulch. Apparently, pigs love cuddling in the stuff, too. Just in case you have a pet pig… and it likes to cuddle.

Whatever you end up doing with your shredded paper, make sure to check in with your municipality or our app first to make sure you’re not creating any unnecessary waste.

Have ideas you want to pitch or want to write for Recycle Coach? Email us at

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