How Shredded Paper is Recycled & The Benefits

How Shredded Paper is Recycled & The Benefits

Shredded paper can be recycled by collecting, sorting, cleaning, and re-pulping the shredded fibers. Here’s a general overview of how shredded paper is recycled:


Shredded paper is typically collected from various sources such as offices, households, or document destruction services. It’s important to ensure that the shredded paper is free from contaminants like plastic or metal.


The collected shredded paper is sorted based on its grade and quality. Different types of paper, such as office paper, newspaper, or cardboard, may be separated to ensure they are recycled appropriately.


Shredded paper often goes through a cleaning process to remove any remaining contaminants, such as ink or staples. This can be done by washing the shredded paper with water and using screens or filters to separate unwanted materials.


After cleaning, the shredded paper is mixed with water to create a slurry-like mixture called pulp. This pulp is then agitated and broken down into individual fibers through a process called re-pulping. During re-pulping, the paper fibers are typically mixed with chemicals to help break down the fibers and remove any remaining ink or contaminants.

Screening and refining:

The pulp mixture is passed through screens or filters to remove any remaining impurities and to separate the fibers based on size. The refined pulp may undergo additional processing steps to improve its quality, such as bleaching to remove color or deinking to remove ink.


Once the pulp has been refined, it can be used to make new paper products. The pulp is spread onto a mesh screen to form a thin layer, and excess water is drained away. The remaining pulp is then pressed, dried, and rolled into large rolls or sheets of recycled paper.


Recycled paper can be used as a raw material in the production of various paper products, such as packaging materials, newspapers, tissue paper, or cardboard. The recycled paper may go through additional processes like cutting, shaping, or printing to create the desired end products.

It’s important to note that the recycling process can vary depending on the recycling facility and the specific requirements of the paper products being produced. However, the general steps outlined above give an overview of how shredded paper can be recycled into new paper products.

How The Environment Benefits When Shredded Paper is Recycled

  1. Conservation of Resources: Recycling shredded paper helps conserve valuable resources such as trees, water, and energy. By recycling paper, there is a reduced demand for fresh paper production, which requires cutting down trees, consuming water for processing, and using energy for manufacturing.
  2. Reduced Landfill Waste: Shredded paper can take up a significant amount of space in landfills if not properly recycled. By diverting shredded paper from the landfill and recycling it, valuable landfill space is conserved, and the need for new landfill sites is reduced.
  3. Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions: When paper decomposes in landfills, it undergoes anaerobic decomposition, which produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. By recycling shredded paper, methane emissions associated with paper decomposition are reduced, thereby contributing to the mitigation of climate change.
  4. Water Conservation: The recycling process for shredded paper consumes less water compared to the production of new paper from raw materials. Recycling paper requires less water for pulping and processing, which helps to conserve water resources.
  5. Energy Savings: Recycling shredded paper consumes less energy compared to the production of paper from virgin materials. Manufacturing paper from recycled fibers typically requires less energy-intensive processes such as logging, transportation, and pulping. Therefore, recycling shredded paper helps to conserve energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions associated with energy production.
  6. Reduced Pollution: The recycling of shredded paper helps reduce pollution associated with paper production. Paper manufacturing involves various chemicals and pollutants, such as chlorine, that can have negative impacts on air and water quality. By recycling shredded paper, the demand for new paper production is reduced, leading to decreased pollution from the paper manufacturing process.
  7. Conservation of Biodiversity: When paper is recycled, it reduces the need for logging and deforestation, which helps to protect and conserve natural habitats. Preserving forests contributes to the conservation of biodiversity by maintaining ecosystems that support a wide range of plant and animal species

Make sure any company you are considering shredding your confidential documents recycles all of the shredded paper they produce.


James Dowse