More than half of Which? members put their shredded waste paper out for recycling. Admirable, but is that really the best thing to do with your confetti? And if not, then what should you do with them?
Shredding unwanted private documents is the obvious first line of defence against identity fraud. Which? members tend to be a diligent bunch, so it’s little surprise that our recent survey of 1,228 members found that an impressive 84% of them own a paper shredder.
And more than half of you put the shredded confetti out with your read newspapers, empty plastic food cartons and drained glass bottles for the weekly recycling pick up. But a lot of local councils won’t collect shredded waste for recycling as the tiny pieces and paper fibres can play havoc with the mechanisms at the recycling plant. That means a lot of your shredded paper is finding its way straight into landfill.
Shredding for bedding
Our survey showed that more than half of shredder-owning members either put their shredded waste out for collection with the recycling and a third put it in their bin. But we also learned other ways that the confetti gets used. Two in five take their former bank statements and bills into the garden and add them to their compost pile.
A few dozen use them as kindling for their stove or fireplace. Pet bedding is another use for shreddings, with lucky hamsters and rabbits getting to lay their heads on them for forty winks.
In fact, pets and paper confetti seem to go hand in hand – cat litter trays and lining the bottom of bird cages are other innovative ways our members use their shreddings. While another uses the paper as padding for parcels.
Bye, bye to bills
We also asked about which documents our members choose to shred. Three quarters of paper shredder owners destroy their old bank statements and two thirds cathartically wave farewell to unwanted household bills by mercilessly feeding them into the jaws of their shredder.
But there are other potentially sensitive documents it would be safer to shred when you’re finished with them that you may not have thought of:
- Junk mail – all a fraudster needs is your name and address to find a way of applying for credit cards in your name.
- CVs – the personal history you reveal could be used to answer online security questions.
- Payslips – these often include your national insurance number and workplace details. Ideal fodder for a swindler.
- Old cheque books – like bank statements, these may reveal your sort code and account number.
Are there any other documents that you make sure are decimated before they leave the house? And what other weird or wonderful uses do you make of your leftover shreddings?