Can Shredded Paper Be Recycled in the UK?

Can Shredded Paper Be Recycled in the UK?

You should shred papers that contain sensitive information if you no longer need them, but can shredded paper be recycled in the UK?

Yes! Most places in the United Kingdom will accept shredded paper for recycling, but you should ask your local council. Some paper mills do not take shredded paper since it is difficult to make good pulp out of. You can also recycle shredded paper in a few ways around the house.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to recycle shredded paper.

How to Recycle Shredded Paper

If your local council accepts shredded paper in the recycling, there are a few things you must do to make sure the paper is fit to be taken:

Only Shred when Necessary

To minimize the amount of shredded paper that you and the recycling plants will have to deal with, you should only shred papers when it is necessary. This is usually something you should only do for papers that contain personal details, as shredding them discourages identity theft.

In some cases, you might be able to tear off the part of the page with sensitive information and simply shred that part, such as if the only personal detail is your address listed at the top.

Follow Local Bin Policies

Many locations in the UK have different policies for how shredded paper should be placed in the recycling bin. They may require you to keep the shredded papers in a paper bag or envelope. Some areas will take shredded paper in plastic bags. 

Always check to make sure the bag or envelope is empty before adding the paper, as other materials can accidentally get mixed in. 

Can Shredded Paper Be Recycled in the UK?

Other Ways to Recycle Shredded Paper:

If you are unable to put shredded paper in the recycling bin, or if that seems like too much of a hassle, there are a few ways you can recycle shredded paper by using it around the house: 


So long as the paper does not come from magazines, as the pages are too glossy, shredded paper is an excellent addition for compost. Shredded paper in compost helps plants keep moisture around their roots, and no one is going to find your information in a pile of soggy dirt and scraps.

Animal Bedding

If you have a small animal like a rabbit, hamster, or a gerbil, shredded paper can be used in their bedding. Some animals seem to like it, and adding the paper can help you use less of more expensive types of bedding. 

Also, if you have a cat, you can mix shredded paper into their litter for a similar purpose: it prevents your cat from going through so much litter so quickly. 

Package Filler

Shredded paper can make for a great box or package filler. Some people use shredded paper to cushion delicate ornaments and keepsakes while they are in storage. You can use this paper for the same thing if you need to mail something breakable and do not want to use plastic peanuts. 


Although many paper mills in the United Kingdom will accept shredded paper that has been placed in your local recycling bin, not all of them do, so be sure to ask your council. If you can recycle shredded paper this way, place it in the sort of bag or envelope that your area requires.

Only shredding papers that contain sensitive details will minimize the amount of shredded paper that you need to recycle. If you have small animals, compost, or fragile items to box up, shredded paper can easily be recycled within your home.