How to Dispose of Shredded Paper

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Over the years it’s gotten harder to dispose of shredded paper. For example, not every recycling company takes shredded paper anymore.

However, that hasn’t stopped me from continuing to shred paper. I believe it’s one of the best ways to keep your personal information safe from prying eyes and identity thieves.

I’ve even convinced my twentysomething daughters to get into the habit of shredding paper. That way if they need to dispose of credit card offers or bills from the doctor, they can do it safely and securely.

One of the places I used to dispose of shredded paper was the Paper Retriever dumpster on my daughters’ school campus. There was a dumpster near the middle school; it was part of the school’s fundraising efforts.

Since we’ve moved away, I have no idea if those recycling bins are still on the school grounds. And, frankly, I haven’t seen them lately where I live now. 

How to dispose of shredded paper

I’ve had to come up with other ways of recycling or getting rid of my shredded paper. So, here are the things I’ve been doing, and which you can, too.

These options range from ways to recycle shredded paper to reusing shredded paper in new and different ways.

For example, maybe you saw the Amazon commercial this past holiday season that featured shredded paper. It was the one where the dad made a life-size snow globe for his sad daughter. It was the shredded paper, made with a shredder from Amazon, that was the “snow” in the snow globe. 

Anyway, I’m not about to turn a greenhouse into a snowglobe. Therefore, here are a few more down-to-earth ways to get rid of strips or pieces of paper that have gone through the shredder.

Compost shredded paper

For starters I know that I can use it in my compost to cover up any dumped organic matter. In fact, the key to composting is doing a green-brown layer.

That is, organic matter (green) that is covered by leaves, grass clippings or, in this case, shredded paper (brown). Covering up the “green” with “brown” helps it to decompose faster.

I’m forever emptying my shredder into our rotating compost bin. It was much easier adding paper when I had a stand-up composter with a large opening on top. 

Anyway, with a rotating composter, the openings are fairly small. And I’ve learned never to put shredded paper in there on a windy day, lest you want your yard covers in tiny pieces of paper.

Use shredded paper when planting or potting plants

Some gardeners swear by sprinkling shredded paper into already dug holes in which they are going to do some planting. I guess if the paper breaks down with organic matter in the compost, then logically it would offer the same benefit in your garden. 

Even better–take your rich, newly created soil from your compost, and use that, along with shredded paper, to fill in the holes when you garden. This way you never have to spend money on a bag of dirt!

Also, if you are potted plants, you use less soil by filling the bottom of the pot with shredded paper. Or, mix it in with the soil.

Packing materials

When I was doing a lot of selling on eBay, I would take the cross-cut paper out of my shredder and use it as cushioning in the shipping boxes. I’ve done the same when putting away Christmas ornaments or other breakables I would normally wrap in bubble wrap. 

In fact, come Christmas time, I’ll shred wrapping paper that isn’t reusable (or can’t be recycled) along with the remnants of holiday cards, and use all of that in place of bubble wrap. I mean, why pay for bubble wrap when I’ve got free packing materials right here in my shredder?

Reuse as kitty litter in a pinch

Your kitty would approve (I hope) of this next suggestion: I’ve heard that you can use shredded paper as replacement litter if you find yourself in a litter-pan pinch. 

I guess it makes sense–the paper is absorbent, and it moves in a way that litter does, so your cat can cover up her business once she’s done. Only drawback? I doubt that paper is odor absorbent.

Donate shredded paper to animal shelter

Speaking of animals, you can donate it to your local animal shelter. I hadn’t thought of this, but I’m definitely going to call my local SPCA and see if they can use it–and then find out how they use it.

How do they use shredded paper? In cages with bunnies, guinea pigs, rabbits and more. And maybe they use it as kitty litter like I suggested earlier.

Fill an Easter basket

Another idea is to use shredded paper in place of that icky plastic grass in Easter baskets. Of course, it would be prettier if you happened to be shredding a bunch of colorful paper at the time.

However, I’m guessing that as long as there’s candy sitting on top of them thar shredded paper, the kids really aren’t going to care what color it is.

Here is advice on shopping after Easter sales.

Stuffing for sewing projects

I’m no sewing queen, but I’ll bet that you could use shredded paper as stuffing in pillows and other decorating ideas. Some people use shredded paper as stuffing in dog and cat beds. Hey, maybe I’ll take out the old sewing machine and give that a try.

Can you think of other ways to reuse shredded paper beyond just recycling it? If so, post a comment to share your idea.

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