Top Five Benefits of Paper Shredding

April 23, 2019 9:30 AM
by Theodore Tollin

Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S. We realize the importance of decreasing this number, which is why we have a Zero Waste Plan that recommends environmental initiatives and programs to help us achieve 95 percent waste diversion from landfills by 2030. One of the ways we’re working toward our goal is by providing free paper shredding events to Santa Monica residents. It may seem inconsequential, but shredded paper increases the City’s rate of recycling. 

This year the April paper shredding event occurs the week of Earth Day. In honor of Earth Day, we encourage you to do a little spring cleaning and sift through your old papers to identify which ones can be recycled at our free paper shredding event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 27 at City Yards, 2500 Michigan Ave.

Below are five reasons to participate in our paper shredding event on Saturday, April 27:

  1. Reduces the Amount of Waste Sent to the Landfill and Resulting Emissions

The first benefit of shredding and recycling paper is obvious. reducing the amount of paper we send to landfills saves space for other materials that may not be recyclable. Landfills not only smell and look bad, but they also emit two of the most harmful greenhouse gases: methane and carbon dioxide. Twenty percent of man-made emissions around the world come from landfill sites. When these gases are trapped by and retained within our atmosphere over time, climate change occurs. The good news is that every ton of recycled paper produced saves 17 trees from being cut down. Trees are not only aesthetically pleasing but also can reduce the amount of carbon in the air by absorbing carbon dioxide. On average, 17 trees can eliminate 250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year. Conversely, not properly recycling paper made from this same number of trees (17) can create 1,500 pounds of carbon dioxide.

  1. Helps Reduce Clutter in People’s Homes or Offices

Despite the recent increase in paperless data management, workplaces use roughly 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year. Additionally, over half of all paper sheets end up in the garbage on the same day they were printed. Collecting these papers and bringing them to a paper shredding event not only frees up room in your office or home, but it also helps ensure that unused paper is recycled so it can be regenerated and used again. Paper regeneration occurs at paper mill facilities. At these mills, “machines called pulpers introduce water and chemicals to break down the paper into fibers, according to Earth911. Then, any ink and adhesive is removed and the paper fibers start bonding together. Finally, the fibers are rolled and dried, then sent off to make new products” such as coffee filters and egg cartons.

  1. Saves Energy

Regenerating paper not only saves space but also energy. Using old paper to make new paper uses 65 percent less energy than making paper from trees. Every ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water. Using more energy also releases excess harmful emissions in the process. Using less energy will make us and our planet healthier. 

  1. Eliminates Risk of Criminals Obtaining Your Personal Info

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “4 million tons of junk mail are sent to Americans annually. In addition to junk, people still receive plenty of legitimate mail including bank statements, credit cards and other bills. This not only annoys people, but also puts them at risk for identity theft, because mail can contain personal information sought by dumpster divers. This is especially common in the Los Angeles area.  

  1. BONUS: Recycle E-Waste

The City of Santa Monica Paper not only accepts paper at the paper shredding event, but also accepts electronic waste (e-waste). E-waste is a recently increasing phenomenon. As technology rapidly changes, so does the amount of clutter created by older, unused electronics. For example, the average cell phone life cycle is only 20 months, with 95 percent of people in the U.S. owning one. Luckily, many parts of these electronics include recyclable materials, such as metal, plastic, and glass, which can be repurposed into various resources like clothing and jewelry.



Authored By

Theodore Tollin
Administrative Intern