Can Shredded Paper Go on Regular Recycle? | Brick, NJ

Recycling has become an essential aspect of our modern society, as we strive to reduce our impact on the environment and promote sustainability. However, not all paper products can be recycled in the same manner. In the case of shredded paper, it shouldn’t be placed in your regular recycling bin in Brick, NJ, as it poses certain challenges for the recycling process. Similarly, telephone books, once a common household item, can’t be recycled using conventional methods. This is because certain paper products are made with mixed materials that can’t be easily separated or processed. Examples of such materials include wax coatings, foil coverings, glitter embellishments, and even greasy substances like those found in milk cartons, ice cream containers, or juice boxes. These mixed-material paper products can’t be efficiently recycled due to the complications they pose during the sorting and processing stages of recycling. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand what can and can’t be recycled to ensure we make informed decisions and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Why Can’t You Put Shredded Paper in Recycling?

Shredded paper may seem harmless and completely recyclable, but it actually poses a challenge for the recycling process. The issue lies in the size of the shredded pieces, as they’re too small to make it through the sorting process used in recycling facilities. The machinery used to sort and separate recyclables tends to get clogged or jammed when it encounters an abundance of tiny paper shreds.

The reasoning behind this is that the sorting process involves optical scanners and various techniques to differentiate between different types of recyclable materials. The bag containing shredded paper cant be easily identified by these scanners, leading to uncertainty about it’s content.

One option is to use shredded paper as packaging material, especially for fragile items or when mailing packages. It can also be utilized as compost or bedding for small animals. By finding creative uses for shredded paper, we can still minimize waste and give it a purposeful second life.

Shredded paper is often a tricky item to dispose of properly, especially in New Jersey. Contrary to what one might think, it isn’t recommended to recycle shredded paper in your curbside recycling bin. Instead, it’s best to either dispose of it with the regular trash or take advantage of alternative options such as home backyard composting. Let’s explore these options in more detail.

How Do I Dispose of Shredded Paper in NJ?

When it comes to disposing of shredded paper in New Jersey, it’s important to follow the proper guidelines to ensure environmental responsibility. While recycling is generally encouraged, shredded paper is an exception. Instead, there are a few alternative options you can consider.

One option is to dispose of shredded paper in the regular trash. However, keep in mind that shredded paper can easily become a nuisance due to it’s lightweight nature, potentially causing messy situations with wind or spills. To avoid such problems, it’s recommended to place shredded paper in a securely tied bag before placing it in the trash can.

Another more eco-friendly solution is to utilize shredded paper for home backyard composting. This will create a balanced compost environment and help create nutrient-rich soil for your garden.

This will aid in the decomposition process by increasing the surface area available for microorganisms to break it down. Remember to avoid using glossy or colored paper, as these may contain chemicals that hinder the composting process. Stick to plain, uncoated paper for optimal results.


In conclusion, it’s important to be mindful of the materials we place in our recycling bin, particularly when it comes to paper products. While many papers can be recycled, shredded paper and telephone books shouldn’t be included in regular recycling. Additionally, paper products that are made with mixed materials, such as those that are wax coated, foil, have glitter, or are greasy, should also be kept out of recycling bins. By properly sorting our waste and ensuring that only recyclable materials are included, we can contribute to a more effective and sustainable recycling process.

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