The Myths Of Recycling, Part Three: Don't Shred Paper!

May 2, 2014

Don't tear the paper! Leave as is, and recycled it will be.
Credit PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

We’re back with more myths of curbside recycling. Shredded and crumpled paper create a lot of confusion for sorting machines — hard to believe, but true. Sorting mechanisms can’t distinguish crumpled paper from plastic, and ultimately, it just winds up in the trash.

The same goes for shredded paper. The small bits drop through the equipment like water through a colander, and then it drops into the trash piles heading to the landfills. So…?

Paper doesn’t just apply to office waste — catalogs, bills, invoices, flyers, and even window envelopes can all be included in your single stream recycling! If it tears, it’s recyclable. Actually, don’t tear it. Flat paper is best.

Contamination is a dirty word. Oily, grease-soaked pizza boxes and Chinese takeout cartons are a mess, and they are not recyclable. Food soiled paper products mean oil stains, which means "this can’t be sold." They’re not going to recycle them, so you shouldn’t either.

Hopefully now you know the ins and outs of recycling paper! Next week we close out our Myths series with glass!