Many people choose to shred important documents to maintain privacy and protect against identity theft. But that shredding of paper breaks down the paper fibers which makes it difficult to sort and recycle. The small pieces get lost in the sorting process, ending up at the landfill instead of being recycled.
For a while, we here are Recycling Perks felt like we had to make a choice between protecting our privacy and being environmental stewards. But that’s not the case and we don’t want you to feel like you have to make that tough choice yourself! It IS possible to do both, and here’s how you do it.
Drop off your personal papers at a professional shredding service; the fee is small and you will get a guarantee that your personal information is disposed of properly. Professional companies are able to bale the shredded paper, delivering it to the processing facility ready to be processed–no sorting required.
If you are more comfortable doing it on your own, check with your city. They may have the ability to process it if it is delivered to them in a specific way, i.e., properly bagged or boxed. Some cities host events where you can drop it off and they will take care of it for you.
Or you can get creative! There are some great ways to upcycle shredded paper such as using it to create firestarters. The next time you are camping you won’t have to worry about finding dry kindling. Since most paper is compostable, you can use it to help garden seeds get their start. Along with these practical uses, there are some off the wall uses such as papier-mâché and stuffing scarecrows or donating it to local shelters for pet bedding.
Any way you decide to reuse, upcycle or recycle your shredded paper, we hope you no longer feel like you have to choose between protecting your privacy and being green. There’s no need to worry when you can do both!