How can I reuse or recycle shredded paper?

Recycling shredded paperWe’ve had an email from Jasmin:

I shred bank statements, receipts etc but our local authority doesn’t accept shredded paper in the recycling bin. I don’t have a garden so composting isn’t easy either, does anyone have any other suggestions?

I’ve seen shredded paper used as packaging to protect breakable items in the post so that’s one idea – but any more reusing or recycling suggestions? What do you do with it?

Best Suggestions

  • Reduce: Only shred documents that absolutely need shredding. Paper is must easier to reuse or recycle when it’s in one piece, not dozens.
  • Reuse: Use it to protect fragile items in the post/storage. Some people use it instead of straw for small animal bedding. Turn it into papier mache creations or into paper kindling logs for a fire/stove (stuff it in toilet roll tubes to get the shape if you’ve not got a log maker).
  • Compost: Shredded paper can be added to compost heaps – it’s great at adding bulk and is a useful “brown” if you have lots of greens (fresh garden clippings or most kitchen scraps) in there already. Alternately, dig it directly into your garden in the autumn (at manure time).
  • Recycle: Contact your local council to see if they will collect it for recycling – many don’t collect it but some collect it with other paper and others with cardboard.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by winjohn)

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51 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle shredded paper?”


  1. Micky says:

    I think we shuld recycle as we are going to die soon so please everybody recycle so we can all live hapiily ever after

  2. CP says:

    I have a paper log “machine” and use my shredded paper to make paper brick to burn. Ultimate security !

    • Jan says:

      Does your shredded paper log machine work with all shredded paper? I shred anything with our name & address but we don’t take newspapers. We use a single cut shredder. How long do logs take to dry out? How long do they burn? Fantastic solution if workable. Can you advise please? Thank you

  3. narelle says:

    if u pulp the paper in a blender and the strain on sum wire mesh u can make your own paper!

  4. coates says:

    you can use it for kitty litter.

  5. Melanie says:

    Hi, you could always bag it up and put it onto a Free vskip. someone might want it for their rabbits and hamsters, it makes good bedding for the. Friends of mine use it for bedding then for compost when the rabbit has finished with it.

    Vskips is is part of a fantastic site that recylces what you don’t want. Plus is helping to educate the UK on ways to recycle.

    Hope it helps.

    Mel

  6. Heide says:

    Mix the shreds with soil in the lower part of a pot to grow your outdoor plants. Better yet, as you turn soil of a planting bed toss the paper in and mix with soil. That will get rid of a whole lot of paper.

  7. Joshua says:

    I guess, as a long shot, you could always name it something creative and try to sell it on eBay? Who knows…

  8. Keith R says:

    Compost or vermicompost it. Should decompose nicely since it’s already shredded.

  9. Keith R says:

    BTW, Jasmin doesn’t need a garden to compost. You can it in a large trash bin if you do it right. Plenty of good literature on this on the web. Vericomposting also doesn’t require a garden. I know a guy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic that lives in a rooftop apartment with no garden whatsoever but successfully vermicomposts, loves it and says it’s easy.

  10. rich says:

    make paper chains….spray gold….silver….glue glitter etc

  11. rich says:

    dont use aerosol spray though…..waterbase

  12. Darla says:

    No way to reproduce or recycle shredding paper. The suggest is not to waste any more of paper beforehand. Start thinking to use the nonpaper materials instead.

  13. Damon says:

    Amen Darla

  14. pSyche says:

    I always save shredded paper because I use it in my art projects, which tend to be paper mache. The extra I give to my father’s coworker who happens to be building a paper cement house.

    I’d imagine you could do alot with it if you figured out how to make paper cement.

    you can also add it to a compost pile if you have one, used to pack or store fragile items, or even as bedding for certain animals you might have.
    I’ve heard about using shredded paper in pillows, but I’m uncertain as to how comfortable those might be. They could just be decorative pillows, i suppose.

  15. mike says:

    Just be careful using it with animals that might nibble on the paper. The lubrication used for the blades and rotors is toxic, if I understand correctly.

  16. Hazel says:

    Please be careful — lots of bills (particularly those from small companies) are printed using “cabonated paper” which is coated with horible chemicals. Not suitable for use with animals, won’t make new paper and is probably not good for composting. Make logs — before you shred — and either burn on your own log burner or, if that’s not practical, then sell them for a small sum.

  17. Isabel says:

    You can give it to someone with a home business to use for shipping. My friend also uses it to protect Christmas ornaments.

  18. mariana says:

    Go to a store that sells shredders and ask about a recycling program in your area; that’s how I found out I can put it in a clear bag in the recyclimg bin.

  19. shaun says:

    it very good as dog beds i use it all the time

  20. Pat says:

    One year i planted a garden, dug my trenches for potatoes deeper than usual, and lined the bottom with shredded paper. I put an inch or so of dirt on top of the paper and then planted the potatoes seeds and covered with dirt. It was much easier that year digging the potatoes with the layer of shredded paper beneath the potatoes.

  21. Alot of animal shelters use shredded paper in the animal cages for litter/bedding purposes. There are local businesses that sometimes donate their shredded paper on a weekly basis to the animal shelters, so you could call some near you and inquire.

  22. Susan says:

    I use around 6 bin bags of it under my horse every week, only requirment I have is that it is free from staples. It’s brilliant stuff as it’s cheap, not very dusty, keeps my grey horse cleaner than straw or shavings, it decys quickly on the muck heap and it can be recycled further as we spread the muck on the fields, full circle so to speak!
    Lot’s of competition yards use it too, maybe find a local yard and offer it to them?

    • Patricia says:

      Hello Susan,
      Until recently we took our shredded paper to a company who used it as packaging,but we have been told that the company is closing down and no longer needs it.
      So we are now at a loss as to what to do with it.
      We live in Frome and if you live not too far away from here we would be glad to bring it to you for your horse.
      Also,I am very particular about removing staples,as I have been on the
      receiving end of them in my fingers when I was working and it is very painful.
      Regards
      Patricia

    • Michelle says:

      Hi There i use to use the shredded paper for my Horses bedding but unfortunately we can’t get anymore from our supplier
      I live in Brighton, Sussex and have asked around but all local Hospitals, Police and school shred on site and have it taken away. If anyone knows of anywhere in Brighton or surrounding area i would be extremely grateful as it was free and bedding is so expensive nowdays. Many Thanks.

      • Penny Coombes says:

        Hi Michelle,

        I work in a small office in Brighton, where we have shredded paper building up from time to time. We are in central Brighton , near St Peters Church. If you would be able to collect you would be welcome to have our shredded paper for your horses. Please e-mail me on pennycoombes@live.com

  23. ebc says:

    Using less paper is a great idea…..someone should tell credit cards, big business and the post office that…all my shreddings are crap i get in the mail.

  24. ebc says:

    suggestion….if you don’t have a brick machine, stuff it into empty toilet paper/ paper towel rolls and make your own fire logs.

  25. Jan Barker says:

    I would use one piece to roll up very small to be the log book in a nano geocache that I am responsible for.

  26. mike says:

    hi i had shedder paper to get rid of it
    i will sell some on ebay if some one need some for clean oil up but i will do test on oil to see it work on clean oil up first
    my nick name is chip947 on ebay my email address is SHREDDER_PAPER@gmx.com for more info

  27. emma says:

    if people want to get rid of there shredded paper. or newspapers and are withing driving distance of me i dont mind taking them. i have 4 horses and like to use the paper to put down as bedding for them. i used to use straw but due to credit crunch i’m finding this expensive. many thanks emma. email me at blondeindisguse@msn.com i’m in south east of kent x

  28. addy says:

    1. confetti!
    2. make your own paper
    3. some birds might use it in their nests
    4. use it as stuffing for pillows, quilts, etc
    5. donate it to a local animal shelter or barn
    6. paper mache
    7. burn it in some way
    8. put it on craigslist or ebay and someone might be able to take it to their recycling center
    9. if they are big enough, weave them together to make placemats or coasters
    10. someone might be able to use it as insulation for a house or building

    • Pat says:

      I thought of using the plastic shopping bags for insulation and to keep out drafts, but my concern with paper shreds is how flammable they are.

  29. Barbara Barron says:

    It makes excellent compost, along with the other organic waste, or you may like to find someone with a wormery, the worms LOVE it.

  30. Alicia says:

    I am going to try to use shredded paper for stuffing in a draft dodger for the front door. I plan on using an old jean or sweat pant leg and filling it with shredded paper and beans. keep you posted!

    • Pat says:

      That’s a great idea! You could stuff it with paper and use fishing weights, so you don’t have beans possibly accumulating moisture and molding.

  31. Simon says:

    Only use the paper for small animal bedding if the paper is ink-free, you don’t want any critters suffering from ink poisoning! There is a factory near where I live that sells logs, firelighters etc and they often flyer in my area offering payment for old recyclable paper, maybe there is something like that near you?

    Logs Nottingham

  32. Paul says:

    If your in the Houston area and have no use for the shredded paper I could use it and will pick up for you if its a lot.
    Thank you.

  33. Papermasher says:

    Papermasher bags are probably the best,easy and fast why to shred without a shredder.

  34. On a recent tour of our local recycling plant in Wirral, we were told they can not recycle shredded paper in fact it clogs their machines. I don’t have too much I need to destroy to the extend of shredding. I add it to my compost once it is ripped very small. I think locally there are places for pet bedding.

  35. Abby says:

    Hi ya i kept my horse on shredded paper and am after as much as i can get my hands on. It has to be cross cut shredding tho. Im in Essex not far from Southend, please email me if you can help thanks x

  36. Lori says:

    Where can I recycle plastic bottle caps? I read they clog the recycle machines. I know some places take them, but do not know where. Some of the caps, like from laundry detergent are heavier than a water bottle. I hate to throw in the trash. I do not mind driving too far. I live a little north of Philadelphia. Thank you

  37. Lori says:

    Sorry, I thought that was going to one of the sights at the bottom of this page. I am technically challenged!

  38. Shredsec says:

    Commercial shredding companies use the shredded paper to sell back to paper mills or agents who reuse it to create new paper. But they’re only interested in buying paper that’s been baled and large quantities.

  39. Here is our Idea to shredding – Papermasher
    A revolutionary new concept in document shredding and identity protection. It eliminates the actual shredding and gives consumers a time-saving and reusable option to traditional document destruction. Simply fill your Papermasher bag with your confidential documents and load the bag into your home washing machine. As the washer cycles, your information is mashed into an unreadable paper pulp. The mashed paper can then be discarded, recycled with regular paper or use to create art, paper mashe and more…



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