January 12, 2015

On finally owning a paper shredder.

For years I kept papers that couldn't be thrown out in the trash in a couple brown paper bags that I seriously believed I was going to burn one day. For a year, I had those bags near the fireplace, but no fire was ever built. Meade talked about burning them outside, in the charcoal grill, but that never happened. I'm trying to relieve the house of clutter, so I didn't like the idea of taking ownership of a new electrical appliance, but last week, I finally did it. I bought a paper shredder.

I let it ripen a day before taking it out of the box and a few more days before turning it on and feeding some papers in. This morning, I finally got through the process by opening it up to empty out the shreds. Hey, this stuff is great...

P1130858

There must be something you can do with it. And I mean other than photograph it and blog about it. I google and find this "What to do with shredded paper" Pinterest and am instantly cured of whatever twinges of craftiness I might once have felt. I mean...



Gilbert the Shredded-Paper Rabbit says: Noooooo!

41 comments:

AJW said...

I mix my shredded paper with my compost pile. Seems to blend nicely.

Lucien said...

Used to have a pet rat & used shredded paper to line the cage bottom. This has the added benefit of making it less likely that anyone will ever try to piece the shredded pieces back together (if you're of a paranoid bent on such matters).

traditionalguy said...

That doesn't seem to be a very heavy duty model. Good luck doing the heavy jobs.

Curious George said...

Ha, I had BOXES of old paper, mostly old files, and I know contained sensitive data. Had it for years.

An auction that had vintage woodworking machines I was interested in also had a paper shredder...I got it for $2.

I went through the old stuff and shred those papers that contained PI. The rest just went in recycling.

Now it just sits in the same spot as office waste can.

PB said...

Shredded paper burns much better than stacks of compressed paper.

Ann Althouse said...

Shred... then recycle (if recycling is easy enough).

The only other sane use is packing material.

Ann Althouse said...

"Now it just sits in the same spot as office waste can."

Yes, that's what I tell myself about the appliance footprint. It's basically the trash can by the desk. Not that I previously had a trash can by the desk...

MadisonMan said...

Shredded paper is a great fire starter in the fireplace. But if you haven't had a fire to burn paper...

ALP said...

AJW beat me to it. I used my shredded paper in my indoor worm bin, which is plastic so it generates water vapor that needs to be absorbed by a dry material. I defy anyone trying to steal my personal information to put those documents back together once the worms are through with them.

jr565 said...

The paper shredder is one of the glories of technology. Can't quite get to a paperless office yet, but it is a goal.
Strangely enough though I still like physical books. Just not loose paper.

Ann Althouse said...

"That doesn't seem to be a very heavy duty model. Good luck doing the heavy jobs."

I don't have anything heavy to do. It shreds credit card and it does paper 6 sheets at a time. I'd always felt I didn't have enough to need a shredder, so I do have 5 year build up. It fits in one grocery bag!

David said...

"Meade talked about burning them outside, in the charcoal grill, but that never happened."

Ohhh, passive voice. Love it.

Sam L. said...

Credit card receipts. Anything with my name/address on it. Names with phone numbers or addresses.

Firestarters Anonymous.

Original Mike said...

I used to burn this kind of material but it's messy, so I got a shredder.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Was there a particular reason you didn't you buy a real shredder that diamond/crosscuts everything, including credit cards and media disks?

If you really need a shredder at all, they're not at all that expensive while completely removing any lingering doubts about students dumpster diving those first drafts of that torrid bodice-ripper about NFL referees being paid off in hookers to enforce obtuse catch rules in frozen wastelands.

If you saved the packaging, perhaps there is still hope for a do-over for one of us.

EDH said...

Well, we learned that at least two commenters have pet rats and pet worms.

Is this the Althouse commentariat or the Addams Family?

m stone said...

A keen eye can pick out your social security number from that photo of discrete shreds.

I won't share it.

Meade said...

"Ohhh, passive voice. Love it."

I'll admit it: unlike someone who does does what he says — such as Governor Walker, I'm more or less just some big fancy talker.

Clayton Hennesey said...

On the brighter side, you can compost it easily if you juice it sufficiently with nitro/green matter and binding a dollop of Termidor/Fipronil into the soil beneath to discourage termites.

David said...

Meade talk pretty some day. Cool.

Michael said...

Prior to our cross-country move a few months ago, I tried burning the large stacks of paper that we had accumulated rather than taking the time to shred them all. As someone who grew up in rural Alabama where we routinely burned our trash, this seemed like a good idea!

But it was not. The ashes plus the flaming bits flying through the air plus the time it took to watch and stoke the stuff was so much worse than feeding it into a shredder.

roadgeek said...

Oh, that's the one my wife and I bought last year. For around the house duty it's excellent.

JackOfVA said...

Shredders need frequent oiling - there's such a thing as "shredder oil" as a matter of fact.

In the absence of shredder oil, I use mineral oil from the drug store -- spritz a bit on both sides of a sheet of paper and run it through the shredder every now and then.

Without application of shredder oil, the machine lifetime will be significantly reduced.

As a side note, after the Iranian Embassy takeover, the Iranians managed to reconstruct many sensitive documents after they were shredded. This lead to tightened rules on shredder performance, with limits on width and length of the shreds. Seriously classified stuff is burned or turned into pulp with a grinder and water or the like.

But, please use shredder oil or mineral oil on your machine.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Clayton Hennesey said...

...and binding a dollop of Termidor/Fipronil into the soil beneath to discourage termites.

I would think termites would be an extremely effective method of composting.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

And the only reason I would consider making Gilbert the Shredded-Paper Rabbit would be to send him through the shredder.

mezzrow said...

Gilbert makes me think of this Kia ad, which is one the best uses of dramatic classical music in any car ad ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQ-M7kqxSn8

Anonymous said...

Did the good professor actually buy a six sheet at a time shredder? If she did she either has almost no paper to shred or an awful lot of spare time.

lgv said...

"That doesn't seem to be a very heavy duty model. Good luck doing the heavy jobs."

I don't have anything heavy to do. It shreds credit card and it does paper 6 sheets at a time. I'd always felt I didn't have enough to need a shredder, so I do have 5 year build up. It fits in one grocery bag!


The heavy duty models are ridiculously expensive. I bought one for the office. For personal use, the cheaper ones are fine, especially after you get through your initial inventory. Of course, the single cut models can be more easily re-assembled.

You can use it as packing material, but the recipient might not like you as it gets a tad messy when unpacking.

Ann Althouse said...

What on earth are you people shredding?

Anonymous said...

I suppose you could recycle it as packing material, instead of buying styrofoam.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Anonymous said...

Did the good professor actually buy a six sheet at a time shredder? If she did she either has almost no paper to shred or an awful lot of spare time.

If you shred more than a couple at a time then you can't hear the individual sheets of paper screaming.

I can hear them screaming.

I buy paper in bulk.

Larry J said...

Ann Althouse said...
What on earth are you people shredding?


Having had my identify stolen, my wife and I are serious about shredding stuff. Anything that has our names and addresses, old credit cards, credit card applications that we get in the mail, old papers from our filing cabinet such as tax returns and financial statements that are no longer needed, etc. get shredded. We've worn out 2 shredders over the years.

When we moved 2 1/2 years ago, we found accumulated papers that had sensitive information like SSNs. We shredded everything we could and took what we didn't have time to shred ourselves to a commercial shredding company.

Your shredder is pretty low security because the pieces are much too large. Do you remember what happened after the American Embassy in Tehran was captured in 1979? The Embassy staff worked hard to shred and destroy classified information but they had a shredder like yours. The Iranians, with an ancient history of weaving, were able to reassemble many of those shredded documents containing some very embarrassing stuff. Your shredder is like a cheap door lock. It'll stop the honest people but if someone is serious, it has very little real security unless you do something with the material. When I was stationed in Germany, we used to put our Top Secret crypto cards in a blender, mulch them, and then flush them down the toilet.

Michael K said...

"Without application of shredder oil, the machine lifetime will be significantly reduced. "

There are double sheets with graphite between them that can be used the same way.

Clayton Hennesey said...

I would think termites would be an extremely effective method of composting.

They are, but some of us may prefer our composting termite colonies farther removed from our residential and other wooden structures than others.

Larry Haskell said...

It's useful for mulch in the garden, for example around tomato plants. It breaks down over the summer and may deter slugs and snails who can get injured by the sharp edges.

Fritz said...

Our county in Maryland has giant truck sized industrial shredders. Once a month you can find them at a school or something, and drop in whole boxes of paper. We take a big load once a year or so.

holdfast said...

Funny, I actually just bought a 55 gallon drum this weekend to use as a "burn barrel". I have lots of personal and work papers that I can't just put into the recycling. Also some gas that's gone bad, so that should kick things off nicely.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Many many moons ago I worked on mil-spec hard disk storage systems. One contract was for storing nuclear weapons targeting data. We asked the prime's program officer how they were going to be safely erased in case of warranty repairs being needed, and he said "They can't ever be declassified. If a unit fails, we shred it (and these things were roughly cubic-foot chunks of aluminum and electronics) and then burn the scrap. And then you sell us a new one."

Fred Drinkwater said...

I used to import prototype laser printers from clients like Canon, for product development. By contract and tax law, they had to be "rendered unsalable" when we were done with them. Turns out there's a firm in San Jose which will shred equipment like that, and you can even watch it live on the interwebz. Pretty cool.
Of course, there was that one evil customer where we took the machine into the parking lot and destroyed it ourselves with sledges and axes. We sent them the videotape for proof.

Meade said...

Speaking of shredding... Ohio State Buckeyes. Looks like the selection committee made the right selection after all

lgv said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...
What on earth are you people shredding?

All business documents that contain private corporate information. These include all old payables and receivables documents, bank statements and communications, old credit card receipts., voided checks.

Any time I print a financial statement, it gets shredded when tossed. I consider all printed quotes from vendors proprietary information and shred them also.