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Why we don't collect shredded paper in the blue top recycling bin

Shredded paper has been a feature of office waste for many years and is now more common in households as people become concerned about identity theft. Most shredded paper is of a high grade and could be recycled but the paper strips are too small and light to be separated during sorting at our material recovery facility – the large plant where recyclables are sorted and sent for re-processing. Shredded paper gets lost or blown around the sorting plant and gets trapped in machinery where it can be a fire hazard.

Why has the system been set up this way?

Kerbside recycling has been set up to make recycling easy. We ask you to place paper, card, tins, cans, plastic bottles and aerosols loosely in just one bin. Making it easy means more people take part and we get more material for recycling.  Most sorting is done automatically using conveyor belts to move material around. Small pieces of paper (for example till receipts) and shredded paper are too small and light to be picked up by the equipment we use.

Are you doing anything to change the system?

We keep up to date with developments in technology and will consider any practical changes. At the moment it is not economical to change the system for shredded paper.

What's the smallest sized paper you should put in your recycling bin?

Most pieces of paper or card size A5 should be picked up without problem. The smaller the paper, the lower the chance that it will make it through the system to be recycled.

What can you do with shredded paper?

There are some things you can do:

Comprehensive A to Z list of disposing of different types of waste

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