Unlocking Hidden Value: Creative Financial Uses for Shredded Paper

May 4, 2024

What can I do with my shredded paper?

When it comes to managing your finances, the proper disposal of sensitive documents is an important consideration. Shredding paper documents is a common practice to ensure the protection of personal and financial information. However, once you have shredded your paper, you may be wondering about the best ways to dispose of it. In this article, we will explore several options for what you can do with your shredded paper.

1. Recycling Shredded Paper

One of the most environmentally friendly ways to dispose of shredded paper is to recycle it. Shredded paper is accepted by most recycling programs as long as it is not contaminated with other non-paper materials. To recycle your shredded paper, you can collect it in a paper bag or cardboard box and place it in your recycling bin. Some recycling programs may require you to tie the bag or secure the box to prevent the paper from spilling out.

Recycled shredded paper is made into new paper products, such as newspaper, tissue paper, or cardboard. By recycling your shredded paper, you not only reduce waste, but also conserve valuable resources and energy used to make new paper.

2. Compost shredded paper

If you have a home composting system, shredded paper can be a valuable addition to your compost pile. Paper is considered a “brown” or carbon-rich material that helps balance the “green” or nitrogen-rich materials in your compost. Shredded paper decomposes easily and adds carbon to the mix, improving the composting process.

When adding shredded paper to your compost, it is best to mix it with other compostable materials such as fruit and vegetable scraps, yard waste, and coffee grounds. Avoid adding glossy or heavily printed paper, as it may contain chemicals that are not suitable for composting. Over time, shredded paper will decompose and contribute to the creation of nutrient-rich compost that can be used in your garden or potted plants.

3. Packaging and cushioning materials

Another practical use for shredded paper is as packaging and cushioning material. Instead of buying foam peanuts or bubble wrap, you can use your shredded paper to protect fragile items during shipping or storage. Simply fill a box or wrap the item with a generous amount of shredded paper to create a protective layer.
Shredded paper is particularly useful for shipping lightweight or non-fragile items because it helps prevent shifting and absorbs minor impacts during transit. In addition, using shredded paper as a packaging material reduces waste and promotes a more sustainable approach to shipping and packaging.

4. Pet Bedding and Garden Mulch

If you have pets or a garden, shredded paper can be used as bedding for small animals or as garden mulch. For small pets such as hamsters, gerbils or rabbits, shredded paper provides a soft and comfortable bedding material. Before using shredded paper as bedding, make sure it is free of harmful substances such as inks or chemicals.

In the garden, shredded paper can be spread around plants to act as mulch. Mulching with shredded paper helps retain moisture in the soil, suppresses weed growth and regulates soil temperature. However, it’s important to note that shredded paper should be used in moderation in the garden, as excessive amounts can prevent water and air from reaching plant roots.

5. Paper briquettes for fuel

An innovative way to use shredded paper is to convert it into paper briquettes for fuel. Paper briquettes are compressed blocks of shredded paper that can be used as an alternative to firewood or charcoal. They provide a sustainable and cost-effective heat source for fireplaces, wood-burning stoves or outdoor grills.

To make paper briquettes, you will need a briquette press or a DIY briquette maker. Simply soak the shredded paper in water, compress it into briquettes, and allow it to dry thoroughly. Once dry, the paper briquettes can be burned like traditional firewood. This method not only helps you get rid of your shredded paper, but also reduces your dependence on fossil fuels.

Finally, shredded paper can find new life beyond the shredder. Whether it’s recycling, composting, packaging, animal bedding, garden mulch or fuel production, there are several practical and environmentally friendly ways to put your shredded paper to good use. Choose the option that fits your lifestyle and contributes to a more sustainable future.


What can I do with my shredded paper?

There are several creative and practical uses for shredded paper:

Can shredded paper be recycled?

Yes, shredded paper can be recycled. However, it’s important to check with your local recycling facility to ensure they accept shredded paper. Some facilities may have specific guidelines, such as placing shredded paper in a separate bag or container.

Can shredded paper be used for composting?

Yes, shredded paper can be used for composting. It adds carbon to the compost pile and helps create a balance between carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich materials. However, it’s best to use shredded paper in moderation and mix it with other compostable materials, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, to maintain the right balance.

Are there any creative crafts or DIY projects that I can do with shredded paper?

Absolutely! Shredded paper can be used for various crafts and DIY projects. Here are a few ideas:
– Create homemade paper by blending shredded paper with water and pressing it into molds.
– Make papier-mâché crafts by mixing shredded paper with glue or flour paste.
– Use shredded paper as packaging material for fragile items or as filler in gift baskets.
– Make paper pulp sculptures or papier-mâché masks.

Can shredded paper be used as animal bedding?

Yes, shredded paper can be used as bedding for small animals like hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits. However, it’s important to avoid using shredded paper from glossy or colored materials, as they may contain harmful chemicals. Stick to plain, unprinted paper for animal bedding.

Can shredded paper be used for fire starters or mulch?

Yes, shredded paper can be used as fire starters or mulch. When using shredded paper as fire starters, it’s best to mix it with other flammable materials, such as dry leaves or twigs. As mulch, shredded paper can help retain moisture in the soil and suppress weed growth.