Can Shredded Paper Go in Yard Waste?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: August 14, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

We recycle paper all the time, but what are we supposed to do with paper that we have shredded? For the longest time it has been recommended to put shredded paper into a plastic bag and place it in the recycling bin like normal. 

However, that isn’t what is recommended anymore.

Paper mills have made it clear that they don’t want to accept shredded paper in recycling bins because it is incredibly difficult to sort the pieces from other recycled materials. 

Instead, it is recommended that you put shredded paper into your yard waste. 

It is important to make sure there is no plastic in your yard waste when you put the shredded paper in. 

The reason it is recommended to put shredded paper in yard waste is because the paper will absorb liquid and reduce the odor that is emitted.

Is Shredded Paper Recyclable?

Paper is one of the most recyclable items on the planet, but not all paper can be recycled the same way. 

When paper is shredded, it becomes less useful during the recycling process. 

If the pieces get mixed in with other recyclable items, the shredded paper is now not recyclable. 

It is most common for pieces of metal or glass to get tangled up with shredded paper and these pieces can make their way through the filtration screen. 

This can damage the sorting machines and cause an expensive fix.

What to Consider Before Disposing of Shredded Paper

Many people will try to recycle shredded paper or will just throw it in the trash. 

However, neither of these options are a great idea for disposal. 

The first thing you need to consider is what kind of information is on the shredded paper. 

If the information is confidential, you will want to be more careful with how you get rid of it.

You also need to consider the area you are in. 

Different areas will have different requirements for the disposal of shredded paper. 

For example, what is acceptable in one area might be unacceptable in another. 

The best way to determine how to get rid of shredded paper is to check your local requirements.

You should be able to find requirements specific to your area by searching on your waste management website. 

This will tell you if shredded paper is accepted, and they might be able to offer alternatives that are specific to the area that you live in.

How to Prepare Shredded Paper for Disposal

The first thing you need to do to prepare your shredded paper for disposal is, of course, shred it. 

If you are shredding the paper with an at home shredder, make sure you are reading the instruction manual thoroughly to prevent any mishaps. 

You can shred the paper until the shredder is full, then you will need to empty it.

It will be easiest to empty the shredded paper into a trash bag, especially if you need to shred more before you dispose of it. 

When you are finished shredding everything, you can take the trash bag out to your yard waste and empty it into the container. 

You will want to layer the shredded paper under the yard waste as best you can, so it has the maximum potential to absorb any unwanted liquids from the waste. 

If you do not have yard waste, you might still be able to recycle the shredded paper. Contact your local recycling center to find out what their requirements are.

Other Ways to Dispose of Shredded Paper

If you don’t have yard waste and your recycling facility won’t take shredded paper, there are a couple of other ways you can get rid of shredded paper. 

First, you can try composting it. Paper is great for composting because it is carbon-rich and works to balance the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio. 

This is best only if your paper does not have any personal information on it.

You can also try disposing of the shredded paper in different trash bins if you have no other option. 

This isn’t the best for the environment, but it will make it harder for someone to find your personal information and put the pieces together.

Uses for Shredded Paper

There are also some ways that you can use shredded paper if it doesn’t contain any personal information. 

The best way is to use it for shipping and packaging different items. 

It will fill in empty space in the box and prevent your item from getting damaged in transit.

You can also use shredded paper as stuffing for things like a scarecrow or Halloween costume. 

It won’t be the most comfortable thing ever, but since costumes are usually only worn for a short period of time, shredded paper is extremely convenient.

Another great option is to use shredded paper as a mulch supplement in your garden. 

Shredded paper will be extremely efficient at preventing the growth of weed around your garden. 

This will save you tons of time and back pain from having to pull weeds yourself.

Using shredded paper as a fire starter is probably one of the best uses for it. 

There is nothing that catches fire as easily as paper, so shredded paper makes for a great way to quickly get your fires going.


Shredded paper can be pretty tricky to get rid of properly. 

Most recycling facilities aren’t interested in taking shredded paper because other materials can get tangled in and cause damage to the machine. 

One of the best ways to dispose of shredded paper is to put it in with your yard waste. 

It will absorb any unwanted moisture and prevent smells from forming. 

If you don’t have yard waste to put shredded paper in, there are other ways you can get rid of the paper.

You should always check your local requirements before disposing of shredded paper in any specific way. 

This will let you know what the best disposal process is and what is allowed in your area.

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