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Shredded paper not recyclable

Keith Parkins | 21.11.2006 18:22 | Analysis | Ecology

Like the old British Rail having problems with the wrong kind of snow and leaves on the lines, many local authorities are having problems with shredded paper and telling local residents not to mix with paper to be recycled.

'The recycling processors will not accept shredded paper as it tends to clog their machinery. In addition, shredded paper becomes windblown when it is hoisted into the collection vehicle and creates a litter problem in residential streets.' -- Cheltenham Borough Council

'We are told to shred everything to reduce the possibility of having our personal information stolen. But refuse collectors say they won't take it away. It's a bit confusing knowing what to do. People will be forced to choose between personal security and being environmentally friendly.' -- Gill Wagner, Cheltenham resident

It takes 12 trees to produce a tonne of newsprint, with associated energy and pollution costs. 1 tonne of newsprint is consumed by 14,000 copies of your average-size tabloid newspaper.

Newspapers will often point to the fact that they are using a certain percentage of recycled paper, rather than virgin paper, but they are being somewhat economical with the truth.

Paper for newsprint needs long fibres, each time paper is recycled, the fibres shorten, placing a very real and practical limitation on the number of times a tree can be recycled through your daily newspaper.

Recycled paper has to come from somewhere. It is called trees!

We are all paranoid about who is spying on us. We shred our sensitive paperwork to prevent ID theft. Tesco alone is shifting 10,000 paper shredders a month.

This renders the resultant shredded paper almost useless for recycling because the fibres are too short.

There is an added problem, like British Rail that had problems with the wrong kind of snow and leaves on the line, many councils are saying their machinery cannot handle shredded paper. It is buggering up their machines. As a consequence, they are telling people not to put shredded paper in the bin for recycled paper.

More complex rules, more opportunity for on-the-spot fines, more alienation of the long suffering public on whose support we rely to cut down waste, improve our recycling rates.

100 people a day are being fined for violation of arbitrary refuse collection rules, placing rubbish in the wrong bin, putting bins out on the wrong day, not shutting down wheelie bin lids because the bin is too full.

Recently, Swansea man Micheal Reeves was fined £200 for putting a scrap of paper, which he denied doing, in a bin for cans and bottles!

Under the guise of recycling, many local authorities are using the opportunity to cut services by introducing fortnightly refuse collection. Introduced without any consultation with local residents.

If you are really concerned at what is on your paperwork, add it to your compost heap.

The best use of shredded paper, is as bedding for animals, then add to the compost heap. Also useful for padding fragile items for shipping or storage, then add to the compost heap.


Lester R Brown, Plan B 2.0, Norton, 2006

Steve Doughty, 100 a day fined by bin police, Daily Mail, 11 November 2006

Ian Gallagher, Meet Britain's first recycling martyr... the man with a criminal record for using the wrong bin, Mail on Sunday, 22 October 2006

Jon Hughes, What a load of rubbish, The Ecologist, November 2006

Andrew Milford, Alternate bins plan gets a trial run, Farnborough News, 10 November 2006

Andrew Milford, Opposition mounting to alternate bin collections, Aldershot News, 17 November 2006

Keith Parkins, Natural Capitalism, October 2000

Keith Parkins, A sense of the masses - a manifesto for the new revolution, October 2003

Keith Parkins, Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city, April 2006

Keith Parkins, Alternate Bin Collections, Indymedia UK, 13 November 2006

Keith Parkins, It's just rubbish, letters, Surrey-Hants Star, 16 November 2006

Keith Parkins, Rushmoor fortnightly bin collection, Indymedia UK, 17 November 2006

Luke Salkeld, Man fined £200 for putting paper in wrong recycling bin, Daily Mail, 18th October 2006

Luke Salkeld, Councils slap recycling ban ... on shredded paper, Daily Mail, 20 November 2006

Stop the Waste, FoE, 2006

Keith Parkins
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New Tool Needed, or a new Future

22.11.2006 11:27

Use a document pulper for sensitive documents? A new research and manufacturing project! Perhaps it would be better to abolish Money, then the fears of identity theft would be of no consequence. All the workers in the UK presently employed in the various facets of money manipulation could do something else.

The failure of Governments to do that is a root cause of the approaching Mass Extiction. Is it too late for the UK to go it alone down the road to self sufficiency. What are the odds that the UK will still be trying to maintain its money stranglehold on the World when everywhere else has moved of to that happy world beyond Civilisation.