13+ Alternative Uses For Shredded Paper (And Ways to Dispose)

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You probably have seen people shredding bank receipts, shopping receipts, or any other sensitive paper. This is because these documents contain personal information that can be used for cybercrime. While shredding is the simplest way of destroying sensitive information, make sure to dispose of the shredded paper appropriately. 

Worryingly, the shredded papers can still be used to retrieve all your details if you dispose of them in a single trash can. And because you wouldn’t want to be a cybercrime victim, it would help if you dispose of the shredded papers or utilize them for something else. 

That said, there are few factors worth considering before disposing of shredded paper in the trash. Even more, I’ll provide you with the ultimate methods to dispose of shredded papers and also alternative options for recycling. 

Factors to Consider Before Disposing of Shredded Paper 

You’ve seen many people throwing away their shredded papers, but is this a good idea? Although it makes sense, in some situations, there are a few things you need to consider before taking such a step. 

1. Frequency Matters

Depending on the document, some records may stay for days, weeks, months, or even years before they are finally disposed of. Sadly, expired documents that are mistakenly put back into filing cabinets and boxes of dead files tend to be collected during unmonitored office hours and thrown into the warehouse.  

Whichever the case, you stand a chance of being a victim of cybercrime. While it’s necessary to schedule for a shredding day for the daily paperwork, it would be best to purge any accumulation of expired details periodically.  

2. Maintaining Privacy is Crucial

Usually, the consumer-grade shredding machines come in handy for information disposal. However, this method doesn’t guarantee absolute privacy during the disposal process. Additionally, it’s time-consuming, and shredding machines are vulnerable to malfunction problems such as: 

  • Paper jams due to improper use
  • Accumulation of trash that needs to be emptied frequently
  • Overheating

If your shredding machine happens to shut down, toss your documents in a waste or recycling receptacle to save you the hassle. 

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Meanwhile, embrace the culture of securing collection bins as part of scheduled or periodically purge shredding service to reduce cybercrime chances. This also enhances the pick-up process to the point of disposal.  

3. Not All Shredding Providers are the Same

Before settling for a shredding agency, please have an in-depth analysis of their experience and reputation. This is very important when it comes to protecting your company’s records. 

Usually, a community-based company will connect you to a local person who is well-knowledgeable about your account and can offer you the attention you need. You may also want to check out potential candidates who might have serviced other agencies within your region. 

Most importantly, these companies should be certified under the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) AAA. This ensures your shredding providers meet the standard for securing your sensitive details and has undergone the audit of their:

  • Employee screening processes
  • Facility safety
  • Destruction equipment and procedures

3 Clever Ways to Dispose of Shredded Paper

Now that you’re aware of the factors to consider, how do you dispose of your shredded papers? Well, the method will vary depending on your specific circumstances. Even so, there are a few options to leverage your choices.  

1. Pick-Up / Drop-Off Services

However, this is one of the most secure ways to dispose of shredded paper at a smaller fee. Just like each shredder’s efficiency varies, the level of security will also vary depending on your service provider. 

Because safety is your top priority, most shredding providers use shredders with a higher security level than a standard home shredder. The best part? They incorporate your documents with other people’s documents, making it challenging to connect pieces. 

2. Use Shredded Papers as Compost

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly disposal method, composting is the best option. Paper offers carbon-rich nutrients for your compost heap to help stabilize your carbon-nitrogen ratio. Meanwhile, there are a few factors worth considering when composting shredded papers.

First, ensure that you’re composting your shredded documents in a seldom area when nobody can find it. Second, refrain from composting papers that are heavily inked even though they are acceptable to compost. 

3. Dispose Them of in Multiple Trash Cans

When you dispose of shredded papers in multiple trash bins, there are minimal chances that someone will put together the shredded pieces. It’s also worth noting that there’s a high probability that some of your shredded pieces containing full details will end up in one trash unless you’re separating the fragments from each document. Such include your account number and address. Although the use of multiple bins helps, it’s not a secure method of disposal.   

Can Shredded Paper Be Recycled? 

Yes, however, the curbside recycling bins do not accept shredded papers. And if accepted, you’ll be required to place them in a separate container, often polythene or plastic bag. This is to ensure a hassle-free separation process at the recycling facility. 

If the curbside recycling of shredded papers isn’t available in your area, your local recycling center might come in handy to help dispose of shredded documents when dropped off. While recycling centers tend to differ from place to place, it would be best to call around and see if this is a go-to option for you. 

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Is Shredded Paper Good For the Garden? 

Yes. Shredded papers are fine to compost, and as such, you can use them as mulch for your garden. When used as mulch, shredded papers offer tons of benefits such as protection, warmth, and nutrients for the roots. 

Like compost, refrain from using glossy or heavily inked papers, as colored papers take to break down. Also, they might contain substances that aren’t friendly to the soil. Here’s how to utilize shredded papers for mulching. 

Using a rake or spade, spread out the shredded papers and cover it with a compost pile or any other mulch to prevent them from getting blown. 

13+ Alternative Uses For Shredded Paper

Now that you know the best ways to dispose of shredded papers, don’t you think it would also interest you to know some of its uses? Let’s check out a few of these recyclable options. 

1. Packaging

Did you know that you can utilize shredded papers for packaging? If you want to get done with a large move at once, this option might be your cup of tea. With your shredded papers, you no longer need to spend a penny on packing material. Use them to make packing materials for snacks or any other lightweight accessories. 

2. Stuffing 

Similarly, you can use shredded papers for stuffing, just like the idea above. While this might not be ideal for stuffed animals, it’s a good option for scarecrows, costumes, and more. So should you need a scarecrow in your garden, or porch pillows, your shredded papers will come in handy to help you save extra money in the process?  

3. Use Them as Pet Bedding 

Are you struggling with your pet bedding? Worry not because you can always utilize your shredded papers for pet bedding. If you’re breeding small animals like hamsters, the shredded pieces are an excellent place for them to rest. 

4. Toss it into the Litter Box

If you’ve reared a cat before, you probably know how expensive a litter box can be. When building a litter box from these shredded pieces, make sure that you’re making one that’s easier to clean and deodorize.

Also, you can incorporate shredded paper into the litter box to help enhance that existing litter. While this won’t stop you from buying a new one, it can reduce the frequency of buying it more often. 

5. Shredded Papers are an Excellent Fire Starter

It’s no secret that papers catch fire more quickly, making shredded papers an excellent fire starter. It’s a more straightforward and quicker way of eliminating a large volume of shredded documents at once.

While there are tons of ways to develop your fire starters, things are a bit different from shredded papers. You can incorporate wax, egg carton, or toilet paper rolls to your shredded documents for an effective fire starter. 

6. Use Them as Decorations to Your Chicken Coop

Use shredded papers to decorate your chicken coop. You can use them as floor coverings along with other items such as hay, pebbles, straw, or mulch. This is an excellent option because papers are fine to compost, and also, they aren’t hospitable to bugs.  

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7. Toss it into the Wood Stove

Wood stoves often need a little bit of kindling to keep the fire burning. Traditionally, small pieces of wood would be added to keep the fire going, but you can also use the shredded papers. Toss it with other wood pieces of wood until the flames start rolling. 

8. Mulching 

Papers are biodegradable, and as such, they are an excellent mulch for your garden. Shredded documents will often save you extra cash, as well as time. Use it to mulch the ground around trees, flowers, shrubs, fruit plants, among other areas that you might find mulching useful. Once you’ve covered the entire area, you may want to irrigate it then use straws or pine needles to secure it in place and make it look appealing.  

9. Turn into Paper Bricks

It sounds like an impossibility, but you can turn shredded papers into bricks. However, you will have to watch a tutorial to know how best to go about it. The most exciting thing is that you can easily stick it to your fireplace to keep you warm during winter. 

10. Use Papers to Secure Your Seeds

You have planted your seeds in the garden, so what next? Should you wait and hope everything will be fine? This is where shredded papers will come in handy. Use shredded documents to cover your seeds to help retain moisture, and protect the seeds, too. 

11. Feed it to Your Green Beans

So you just planted your green beans seeds, but did you know that these seeds require a lot of moisture? Green beans require more moisture once planted, and the good news is that shredded paper can be used to cover these seeds once planted. Not only will shredded papers retain more moisture, but it will also protect your seeds. 

12. Use it in Your Garden

If you have a garden, you’ll love the idea of adding shredded papers to your garden to improve its fertility. Alternatively, you can add shredded documents to your compost pile and later use it in your garden as manure to boost soil fertility. 

13. Turn it into Sensory Bin

Shredded papers can serve you well when you have kids struggling with Sensory Process Disorder. You can turn shredded papers into a sensory bin, which is an inexpensive way. Also, these kinds of sensory bins can help kids learn much faster. 

14. Act as Grass for Baskets

Children love Easter baskets, and they would appreciate having them. These baskets are colorful and feature toys and candies, which children love. Instead of buying the grass for baskets, color the shredded papers and use them as grass for baskets. With this, you can save some little money. 

About Sarah Walker

Sarah is a homemaker and is passionate about fixing little things in and around her house. She loves to do DIY hacks and keeps on writing about those things on her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her twins Cathy and Mickey.