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Because You Asked

Is There a Minimum Size for Paper to Be Recycled?

By Recyclebank |

Here’s how to handle scraps and fragments of paper.

Dear Recyclebank,

Is there a minimum size for paper to be recycled? And can I recycle the paper bags sugar and flour come in? Can they be recycled with newspaper?

-Leslie H.


Dear Leslie,

When it comes to putting paper in your recycling bin, there generally isn’t a minimum required size for the paper. However, shredded or small pieces of paper may not be recyclable because the paper fibers might be too short to be made into new products. Because of this, some municipalities and waste haulers will not accept shredded paper — always check first. Paper fibers get shorter every time the paper is shredded, torn, or recycled. Eventually, the fibers get too short to be usable in new products, even for low-grade paper like newsprint. Before you put shredded or small pieces of paper in your recycling bin, consider reusing it or composting it instead.

Your soup can labels and the paper bags for sugar and flour are all perfectly recyclable. Just make sure the paper is dry and clean, without food contamination. If it is, you can recycle it along with other paper recyclables like newspaper.

Environmental Protection Agency

Do you reuse, recycle, or compost your shredded paper? Share in the comments below!

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • sara z. 1 year ago
    I always recycle junk mail. Just be careful to take any staples off first.
  • Sherry B. 3 years ago
    I recycle my shredded paper. After reading about composting, though, I will be reading up on this and my shredded paper could be going in a different direction.
  • sherry m. 3 years ago
    Thanks to those of you who shared comments about using shredded paper for things other than composting. Appreciate the ideas.
  • tommy b. 3 years ago
  • Jess S. 3 years ago
    Here are some fun ways to reuse shredded paper:
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