The Leading Contributor
Paper is by far the leading contributor of common solid waste material. Although society is taking gradual steps towards reducing paper waste, it still proves to be the leading material that people constantly throw away. Because paper is so highly used for so many daily tasks, people don’t often think about the consequences of throwing away a few paper products a day. But what happens when you multiply those numbers by millions?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2015, paper accounted for 25.9% of municipal solid waste (MSW). This percentage is quite large, especially in comparison to the second highest MSW material, food, which jumps in at 15%–a whole ten percent lower. Although 25% is pretty high, it is a slight decrease from 27% in 2013. While the drop in numbers is great, there is still room for improvement! Moreover, paper shredding could prove to be a great solution!
Why Shred Paper?
That’s a great question: why should you shred your paper? Why is it not only important, but simply necessary to invest in a paper shredder? Well, we have a separate blog on that that you can find here. But, as many already know, paper shredders are largely important for their role in data destruction. They offer protection for private information as they greatly decrease the chances of people stealing and misusing it. Depending on the security level, paper shredders can offer some of the highest security and protection for documents out there. Though they require a decent amount of maintenance, they are well worth the investment.
Here are a few other benefits that paper shredders have:
- Builds ethical standing for businesses
- Great time savers
Where does Recycling Come into Play?
When people think “recycling,” they typically don’t think of shredding paper. Things like separating out plastic, glass, metals, and paper, and tossing them into their respective recycling bins typically comes to mind. While this is definitely a large part of the recycling process, paper shredding also greatly falls in line with this. A large amount of the paper discarded comes from offices and businesses trowing away documents that they no longer need. That, paired with the amount of paper the average person throws away annually in the United States alone is nearly astronomical. But there is a plus side to this! Though paper is the leading contributor of waste, it is also one of the most recycled products in the world. This means that people are increasingly becoming more aware of the amount of paper that’s needlessly wasted.
You may still be wondering how shredders tie into this. They bring great benefits as far as security and efficiency goes, but how exactly are they eco-friendly? For one, they decrease the total volume of paper that’s discarded. Paper fills up trash bins at a much quicker rate when thrown away normally. Shredded paper on the other hand, serves to discard the same amount while reducing the total volume. It also makes it easier to recycle paper in general. If handled properly, shredded paper particles are recycled and then reused again to make paper and other materials. This decreases the amount of trees used to make paper and reduces the amount of paper that ends up in landfills.
As you can see, it is not only important to have a paper shredder in the office, but to also have one in the home as well.
How Should You Approach Recycling Your Shredded Paper?
We’re sure you’re still probably wondering how you should approach recycling your shredded paper. The first step should be to check the security level of your shredder if you do not already know this. If you have a paper shredder for personal use at home, chances are, it is a lower level strip-cut or cross-cut shredder. Higher level shredders are usually used in offices, businesses, and government agencies. Lower security level shredders such as a P1 or P2 produce bigger shredded paper particles, meaning they are easier to recycle. Most personal shredders fall into this category but the same could also go for smaller offices that do not use high security shredders such as P4s and above.
The next step in this process is to look up your city/county’s policies regarding recycling shredded paper. If they accept shredded paper, make sure it is paper bits that correspond to your shredder security level. If they do, then read your community’s guidelines on how to handle the paper and where it should be sent. If the shredder is for personal use, you should be able to bag the shredded paper bits into recycling bags and recycle it like you would recycle paper normally.
For more information on how to handle shredded paper, check out the video below!
Re-purposing Your Shredded Paper Particles
Some locations may not accept shredded paper particles because they deem the pieces to be too small for reuse. If this is the case, there are other solutions for re-purposing your shredded paper. Here are just a few ways to reuse your shredded paper bits:
Packaging: Depending on your shredder security level, the paper bits could be small, meaning tossing them into a box could make a big mess. If the particles are really small, putting them into small bags (such as ziplock bags) could be a be a great solution. If the shredded paper bits are larger, putting them in as cushion at the bottom of your boxes shouldn’t be a problem!
Kitty Litter: Do you have any cats at home? Try mixing in your shredded paper with kitty litter to use less product and save money! Shredded paper could also be used for waste scraps for other small animals such as bunnies, hamsters, and so forth.
Mulch/Gardening: Shredded paper could be planted around plants and trees to be used as, or mixed in with mulch.
Compost: Continuing on with the topic of gardening, some shredded paper can used as brown material for compost.
As you can see, shredded paper can serve many other purposes, even if they cannot be recycled. In this way, you can save money, and recycle shredded paper.
Ever wonder what you should do about all of those cardboard boxes laying around? While paper takes about 2-6 weeks to decompose, cardboard takes around two months, depending on the size. Don’t worry, we have an economical and ecological solution that won’t require you to send your cardboard to the trash. Beyond paper shredders, there are also cardboard shredders which could serve to fulfill your shredding and disposal needs.
These shredders cut staggered slits throughout each sheet of cardboard, creating material which can be used as shock absorbent netting for packing. This is especially a great resource for offices that ship out packages. This is also a much better alternative to using plastic (such as bubble wrap) which could take 1000 years to decompose, or packaging peanuts, and Styrofoam which doesn’t decompose at all.
HSM PROFIPACK C400 CARDBOARD SHREDDER
Interested in getting your hands on a cardboard shredder? The HSM Profipack C400 is an excellent, economical option which could definitely serve to fulfill your cardboard shredding needs. This is a great choice for offices and businesses alike that collect large amounts of cardboard from packages. Instead of throwing them away, simply reuse and re-purpose them! Though the Profipack C400 can only shred one piece of cardboard per pass, it is highly durable as it does not need rest in between shreds. Its internal thermal fuse protects the shredder against overheating, meaning it can be used continuously for long periods of time. The C400 is also compact, and fairly light, weighing about 82 lbs meaning it can be carried from home to office, to warehouse if need be without much trouble. To learn more about the Profilpack C400, check out the video below, or view the product on our site here!