Shedding Light on Shredding

Shedding Light on Shredding

By Sharon Balke -

Recently two neighbors asked me if it is acceptable to put shredded paper in plastic bags into the recycling cart.  I felt confident that the paper was fine but I wasn’t sure about the plastic bag since we all know plastic bags are not allowed.  Still, who would want that shredded paper flying all over Timbergrove?

To find out for certain, I emailed my friend in the Solid Waste Department.  NEITHER should go in the recycling cart.  Both jam the sorting machines.  Who could have guessed?  I shred very little so to me it’s not a problem but I know many neighbors whose shredders are running constantly.

Short of trashing the shredded paper, what can you do with it?  It is great for storing dishes and other breakables.  It is also good padding when shipping packages.   My friend, Kendra Williams, Googled it and found two websites.  One listed my two suggestions in addition to making paper mache bowls from it.  Go ahead, you first.  The other website said that it made great compost for a worm bed.  I think Kendra’s idea of removing address labels and simply putting the rest of your junk mail in the recycling cart is far superior to paper mache and worm beds.

Note:  There has been some discussion on what to call the green recycling receptacles we use.  It wasn’t a bin like the old ones so I called it a recycling can.  That didn’t fly so I went to the source, the City of Houston website.  It uses the term cart so cart it will be.

Call it whatever, just keep using it.


Recycle, make a difference…it’s your world, too.



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