Shredded Paper Put in Paper Recycling Shredded paper is okay under the gray lid of a split recycling cart or in a larger cart or bin labeled “Paper Only.” Please contain in a paper bag or box to prevent it from becoming litter during collection. Keep in mind that the smaller the piece of paper, the harder it is to recycle. Avoid shredding paper that doesn’t need to be. Consider reusing shredded paper for packaging. Pack Into a Paper Bag Loose shredded paper can slip through the paper separator when recycled, so pack it into a paper bag and staple shut. OK to Compost Shredded paper is compostable as long as it’s not colored or glossy. If you are adding a lot of shredded paper to your home compost pile, add some grass to lower the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio. Ways to Reduce Shred Selectively It’s not always necessary to shred a document entirely. You really only need to shred the parts that contain private information. If protected info is removed and shredded, the rest of the document can be recycled. Cut Back on Junk Mail If you find yourself shredding junk mail to protect personal information, register with the Direct Marketing Association to remove your name from most mailing lists for five years (for a $2 processing fee). This won’t affect companies you’ve purchased from, so use Catalog Choice or the free app PaperKarma to request specific senders to cease mailings. Did You Know? Why Shredded Paper Can Be Hard to Recycle Shredding a piece of paper shortens its fibers, which limits its recycling potential and reduces its value. Shredded paper is too small to be processed by some recyclers. It slips through sorting machinery onto the facility floor, where it gets swept up as trash.