We’ve all shredded pieces of paper before throwing them in the recycling bin, sometimes simply as a habit. What a lot of us do not know is that shredding shortens paper fibres. Why is that bad?, you might ask. The answer is simple. The longer the fibre, the more valuable the paper is for the recycling process.
When it comes to what should and shouldn’t be shredded, keep this in mind: if the paper has sensitive information on it, shred it; if not, don’t. The European Recovered Paper Council (ERPC) has recently published a new poster illustrating this principle.
The poster shows two different groups of documents falling into a recycling bin or a shredder. In the ‘recycling group’ you can find books, magazines, office paper and cards, while the ‘shredder group’ includes examples such as investment transactions, accountancy and medical records, tax forms, credit card statements and pay slips.
Since 2000, the European paper value chain has joined efforts to improve recycling in Europe via the ERPC. You can help them achieve their goal. Before shredding your paper, think about whether you need to shred it. You will be serving the environment and contributing to reducing waste, pollution and climate change, while saving office costs.
“Think before you shred”’ follows last year’s very successful “Paper Recycling in the Office” guidance and is based on an example by the American Forest & Paper Association. The ERPC plans to distribute the poster also to European Commission employees as well as to the newly elected European Parliament members in September.