Shredded paper can go in with yard waste as it will absorb extra water and can reduce smells. It can also be placed in a paper bag or cardboard box and placed in your recycling bin. It is always best to check your city’s website to double check that they accept shredded paper with your yard waste. Most do but it is always best to be sure.
Shredded paper with minimal ink and color can also be added to your compost pile and mixed through or added to your worm farm. It makes amazing worm bedding and can help to absorb extra moisture.
This article will explore all you need to know about adding shredded paper to your yard waste including easy tips and other simple ways to recycle it.
The challenges of shredded paper
When shredded paper is placed straight into recycling bins, it is nearly impossible for recycling companies to separate it from other recycled materials. The small pieces can get mixed into the plastic or metal and can contaminate the mixes.
This makes the recycling process more time-consuming and much more difficult.
Adding shredded paper to yard waste is a great way to get rid of it. It will be broken down into compost with green and brown yard trimmings and the carbon will be captured in the mix.
If you decide to put shredded paper into your yard waste, make sure it does not contain any plastic because this can get into the compost mix and can end up in soil. the yard waste has no plastic in it. It should only be yard waste and nothing else.
Tips for disposing of shredded paper
It is tempting just to throw shredded paper directly into your recycling bin or trash can but neither of these is the best solution.
You also have to consider where you live, since different areas have different requirements for people who wish to dispose of their shredded paper. This is why it’s so important to check with the city you live in to make sure you’re disposing of your shredded paper in the proper way.
1. Only add small amounts of paper to yard waste
If you are adding shredded paper to your yard waste, only add it in small amounts. Add shredded paper in layers with your green waste and yard trimmings so that it can absorb the extra water.
Adding lots of shredded paper to your yard waste can leave it stuck at the bottom and very wet. It will be picked up easier by the trucks if it is mixed through the green layers.
2. Use excess shredded paper in your home compost
Shredded paper that is plain and white can be added to your home compost. Add it in layers, mix it through and add around 1/3 green materials to add extra moisture. Mix in fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and fall leaves with shredded paper to add extra nutrients and bacteria.
The bacteria and worms in your compost mix will break down the shredded paper and turn it into rich compost with the other ingredients. Shredded paper breaks down fast because it is in small pieces already.
3. Add shredded paper to your worm farm
Shredded paper makes amazing bedding for your worms. It can be layered on the base of the worm farm or added in small amounts over time. Use it to absorb extra moisture when you add food scraps to your worm farm so that it does not get too wet. The worms will eat the bacteria on the paper as well as the paper itself, breaking it down and turning it into worm castings.
4. Put shredded paper in a paper bag or box before recycling it
If you are recycling your shredded paper in your yellow or recycling bin add it to a paper bag or box first. This will mean that it will be sorted with the paper and cardboard materials and can be turned into paper pulp to make new materials.
Does paper need to be shredded a certain way?
Paper does not need to be shredded in any special way to add it to your yard waste. The smaller the strips are the better because they will break down fast. They will absorb water well and soil bacteria and worms can digest it easily.
Collect the shredded paper in the catcher bin and empty it straight into your yard waste bin, compost bin or even worm farm. Mix it through so that it does not form a thick layer and it will break down fast.
Other ways to recycle shredded paper
If your city does not take shredded paper, here are a few ideas to recycle shredded paper at home.
- Use it in your compost; paper is carbon-rich and can actually balance the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of your compost pile
- Use it for packing and shipping items
- Use it as stuffing for a Halloween costume
- Mix it with your bark mulch to add extra volume
- Use it to start fires in your fireplace
- Use it as the base of your worm farm
- Add it to your worm farm to absorb extra moisture
- Use it to line the base of your raised garden beds
For more on how to turn shredded paper into compost, check out this video below.
Shredded paper is a great ingredient for home gardeners because it can be turned into compost, worm castings or added to your yard waste. It will absorb water, keep smells away and can help to dry up compost piles or worm farms that are too wet. It can line the base of raised garden beds or worm farms or be sprinkled on the top.
By placing shredded paper in with your yard waste doesn’t end up in the landfill. The shredded paper can absorb moisture and smells from the waste that is stacked on top of it. Check with your city’s recycling division if you are not sure if they take shredded paper. Most do but it is best to check.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.