At FileShred, we’re asked all the time what happens to shredded documents once the truck pulls away. The answer is actually quite simple. Your old and unwanted documents become something useful again.
Our industrial paper shredding trucks turn your unwanted documents into tiny particles, so the confidential information on them is inaccessible. When our vehicles are full of shredded paper, we empty them at a recycling facility. Learn more about how this process works.
Here is How the Paper Recycling Works
At the recycling facility, the paper is separated by type and grade and then goes to a bailing machine that compresses the paper into large blocks of paper called bails. Bailing the shredded paper makes it easier to handle, and it can be easily transported to paper mills in tractor trailers for processing.
The first step of processing the paper is to place the paper inside a machine called a pulper. The pulper chops the paper into pieces in a big vat and then adds water. The mixture of paper and water is heated to break it down into fibers
Once the paper turns into pulp, it goes through a screening process to remove items such as staples, paper clips, rubber bands, and tape. Then the pulp is cleaned. The cleaning involves separating larger fibers from smaller ones and removing any non-paper bulk materials.
The pulp has to be clean, so a de-inking process is used to remove print and sticky materials. There are two types of methods used to do this. They are washing and flotation. Washing is the process of rinsing the pulp over and over with water until the ink is gone. In flotation, a machine creates air bubbles with a detergent additive to remove any sticky materials and ink. The detergent helps to force the ink and any other materials to the top of the tank to remove the impurities from the now clean pulp.
The last step is making the pulp into new paper. The pulp can be used by itself, or new wood fiber can be added to give the paper extra strength and smoothness. The wet mixture is sprayed onto quickly moving screens, where water drains and the recycled fibers bond together into sheets. More moisture is squeezed out of the sheets by press rollers, which are then dried by heated rollers.
Then the sheets of paper go to a machine that creates giant rolls. A single roll of this paper can weigh many tons. The paper rolls are shipped to manufacturing plants where they will be used to make new paper products such as paper towels, tissues, and writing paper.
Saving Trees and Saving the Planet
Knowing that your documents will have a new life instead of ending up in a landfill is refreshing, and the fact that the environment benefits from the process is an added benefit that our customers are happy to hear. In fact, every ton of paper we send for recycling saves 17 trees.
Some people are concerned that recycling their documents could allow more people to look at their information. They can rest assured that their data is no longer visible as soon as we shred it. It is impossible to read or reconstruct the documents because we use cross-cut shredders that cut your files in multiple directions. Our document shredding services are done on-site at your location, and you’re welcome to watch the entire process happen.
FileShred is a locally owned on-site document shredding and hard drive destruction service in Connecticut that will help you securely destroy your confidential papers. Give us a call or visit our website at https://www.fileshred.net/.