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What Happens To Paper Once It’s Shredded?

paper-recycling

One of the most common questions we get asked is what happens to the paper once it has been shredded. Does it sit in a big pile to decompose? Does it get sent away somewhere else, or is it repurposed in some way? The answer is thankfully very simple, your old, unwanted to valuable documents are securely destroyed and then turned into something useful. The process for recycling paper isn’t particularly complicated, but it does take time and an awful lot of water. So what are we waiting, for, let’s dive in!

The Shredding

Your documents will arrive on our site either in a black bag to be shredded, or in the back of one of our lorries, pre shredded and ready to go. Any un-shredded paper will go through one of our varieties of shredder (from a basic cross cut up to a thorough hammer mill) until it is suitably destroyed. We will then house the shredded paper in one of our locations until the regular collection service arrives to take the paper away to a shredding facility.

Making Slurry

Once the paper has been shredded and we are confident it can’t be read or reconstructed, it is grouped into bales and sent to a recycling plant. There are some recycling plants that won’t accept pre-shredded paper as it can be difficult for them to sort, but most will take as much shredded paper as we can provide as long as it is contained. At these centres the paper is then separated into types and grades depending on its quality. Each selection of paper is then fed into a vat and washed thoroughly in soapy water. This is to remove any inks, plastic films, staples and glue, which are then filtered out. The wet paper is then poured into a large vat where it is mixed with even more water to form a slurry.

From Slurry To Paper

The slurry formed from the shredded paper is then separated out again into several different vats. Each vat has a different material added to it to create a different paper product such as cardboard, newspaper or office paper. Some newer users for paper slurry also include making bricks, fertiliser, paper timber for construction, fire logs and craftsman materials. Traditionally though, at a recycling plant paper slurry is used to make mass consumed paper products like magazines, newspapers and office paper. The slurry is then spread onto a conveyer using a set of large rollers and made into large, thin sheets. These sheets are left to dry before being rolled up ready to be curt and sent back off to the factories for printing and selling.

 Other Uses For Shredded Paper

Of course, you don’t have to send your shredded paper off to be recycled, you could recycle it at home yourself. You can do simple things like use it in place of bubble wrap and other packaging materials to keep your delicate items safe or use it for low cost animal bedding. You could also make your own paper slurry by mixing it with water in a food processor, and from here the possibilities get a bit more adventurous. You could mix it with soil for nutritious compost or use it for papier mâché of course, or you could build your own furniture or even a boat from it.

No matter what you choose to do with your paper, recycling it is an important part of the process. Shredding your paper ensures it can’t be reconstructed, but recycling your paper allows you to give something back to the environment and cut down on the destruction of forests. Paper can be reused an endless amount of times, which is why we strongly support paper recycling at Hungry Shredder. For more information on our green policies or just to talk about your shredding and recycling needs, get in touch with us today