How Shredding Helps the Environment


One of the most prominent benefits that people first consider when they look into shredding is the protection that it provides from data theft. What isn’t so well known is how good shredding is for the environment. This article will outline some of the ways that choosing to shred documents can help the environment.

Professional shredding services tend to have a system in place to ensure they are as environmentally friendly as possible, by recycling everything that they can. Companies will invest in as much green machinery as they can and try to use paper traps to lower the amount of waste that they produce. They will then deliver their shredded paper to local recycling plants so that the cuttings can be reused. Through this method of recycling, shredding sites are preventing the destruction of more trees, helping to save the environment.

Another benefit of shredding is the diversion of waste from landfills. By shredding and recycling waste instead of just throwing it away means that not only will it be reused and turned into something else that can be incredibly useful, but that it does not end up in a landfill somewhere. By diverting this shredded paper, it gives more space for materials that cannot be recycled or reused and reduces the overall amount of waste in these landfills. Up to 60% of waste in landfill sites could actually be recycled; at the moment 12.5 million tonnes of cardboard and paper are used annually across the UK, yet only 66% of it is recycled, leaving the 34% left going to landfills when it shouldn’t be. If this 34% was recycled, it would undeniably take some strain off the landfills, helping the environment.

Shredding also helps reduce pollution damage. For each tonne of paper that is made fresh from trees, it takes 50 MJ of energy to produce. For perspective, that is enough energy to power the average house for nearly a year. The recycled paper takes between 40-60% less energy to create, saving power and energy. It also reduces the significant amount of chemicals that are emitted when the paper is being manufactured. During the paper production progress, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide are all emitted which are damaging to the environment; nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide are major contributors to acid rain alongside other detrimental environmental issues. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which is responsible for climate change. If a plant creates new paper from recycled paper, it produces 72% fewer chemicals into the atmosphere- a dramatic decrease.

Recycling has progressed exponentially in the last 20 years, and separating papers from plastics is the norm for a lot of people. However, it still seems to be difficult for some, with 45% of people advising that they would recycle more if the whole process was simpler. For more information, On Time Shred offers details not only about how shredding is environmentally friendly, but also cost and space-efficient.