Have you ever found yourself with bank and credit card statements or other important documents, and wondered whether they would be safer in the recycling or the trash?  We're happy to say that identity theft from a Rhode Island recycling bin has never been reported to us at RIRRC, but we also know that you still have a very valid concern! RIRRC wants to make sure you have the option to shred your confidential documents and recycle them with complete peace-of-mind.  

Do you have shredded paper at home, and want to recycle it?

Recycle it in your bin or cart: Double-bag in clear or translucent plastic bags. You can use shopping bags from the grocery store for small batches, or you can buy large ones at any office supply store. You can single-bag shreds in thick (2-3 mil) bags, which are available for purchase online.  This is the ONLY recyclable item that should ever be placed in a plastic bag.  The reason this can work is that our sorters are able to recognize plastic bags of shreds easily, and pluck them off the line.  The old way of putting them in a paper bag is not effective in the new system, as the drum feeder tears paper bags open and the shreds go everywhere. Please do NOT place any other recyclables in plastic bags.  These will end up in the trash.

First, know what a sensitive document is:

Anything with your social security number, bank or credit card numbers, medical records or forms of ID are sensitive documents. If someone else got hold of these, you could be at risk. Items with just your name, address and phone number are not sensitive. Magazines, newspapers, and junk mail can be safely recycled whole in your household’s recycling bin. Whole sheets of paper make for higher quality recycling.

Other options for handling sensitive documents:

Save documents and attend a free shredding event. RIRRC hosts one in November, and a local company hosts more throughout the year. You can also pay for the service anytime by calling any document shredding company – see the document on the left hand side of this page. Please note that RIRRC does not endorse any one of these companies over another, nor over any other companies not listed here.

Keep sensitive papers intact, but black out sensitive numbers before recycling.  You can purchase a special “black-out” stamp at office supply stores for this purpose. Recycle these papers in your bin/cart at home.

Shred at home and put paper shreds into a backyard compost bin.


Visit our Upcoming Events page for a list of Community Shredding Events.