On this page you’ll find the answer to common questions about domestic paper shredding and professional domestic paper shredding services.

Can I shred paper with staples in it?

Yes. If you use a paper shredding service, you won’t need to remove staples (or any other stationery such as paperclips or plastic wallets) as the shredders are able to shred them.

Small home-office paper shredders are unlikely to be powerful enough to shred through staples. If you’re using a home shredder, you’ll need to remove the staples first.

How can I dispose of shredded paper?

If you live in the UK, most kerbside paper and cardboard recycling services will collect shredded paper. However, it’s important to check the service in your area as some local authorities don’t make these collections.

What’s the best way to dispose of confidential papers?

Shredding is the most straightforward and cost-effective way to deal with confidential waste. You’ll need to use a crosscut shredder to ensure the paper is shredded into small enough pieces.

Strip-cut shredders produce thin strips of paper which someone who was determined to read your confidential waste could put back together.

Other methods of destroying confidential paper without using a shredder—such as burning or soaking paper—can be time-consuming, less secure and less environmentally friendly than using a home shredder or shredding and recycling service.

Are paper shredding services available for home offices?

Yes, many paper shredding companies provide a domestic service. This usually means they will give you paper shredding bags that they will collect once full, and take the paper away to be shredded and recycled.

Where can I shred my paper myself?

For health and safety reasons, most shredding companies don’t allow customers to shred their own documents. If you’re worried that using a shredding company won’t be secure, choose a mobile shredding service—with these, you can watch your documents being shredded.

Can I watch my paper being shredded?

Yes, if you use a mobile shredding service. Other services don’t allow it, as it wouldn’t be safe to have customers near the shredding machines, plus they have a duty to protect other customers’ data.

At Russell Richardson, you may be able to watch your papers being shredded via a screen in our reception area. However, we don’t allow unauthorised people into the warehouse.

Can I shred envelopes with plastic windows?

Yes, most paper mills will screen for small pieces of plastic and metal during the manufacturing process and remove these before recycling the shredded paper into a new product.

Industrial shredders can easily handle envelopes with plastic windows. If you’re planning to shred your envelopes in a home shredder, test one first to see if your shredder will shred it without jamming the machine.

Most home shredders should be able to handle envelopes with plastic windows. If you’re not sure and don’t want to test it, check the instruction manual to see if your shredder is designed to shred these types of envelopes.

Should I shred junk mail?

Yes. Junk mail may just seem like an annoyance but it’s actually dangerous to dispose of it without shredding it. For example, if a thief got hold of a piece of junk mail offering you a credit card, there’s nothing to stop them filling in the details themselves, using your information.

Should I shred old passports?

Although old passports contain personal information, if you don’t have an up-to-date passport, keep your expired passport as proof of your citizenship. If you’ve renewed your passport, it’s best to shred the old one (or at least the ID page) to avoid it falling into the wrong hands.

To find out more about domestic shredding services, visit the page Domestic paper shredding services—how it works, the benefits and costs.

If you need to shred confidential personal papers, speak to the team at Russell Richardson about the best service for you—call us today on 0800 294 6552 or make an online enquiry here.