Ideas for shredding cardboard

dowbright(z6 in Missouri)July 12, 2012

I have so many huge boxes to recycle that I wish I could shred some and have a big storage bin full of shredded cardboard to use as bedding.

Has anyone ever found a way to do this cheaply?

I will be using them in lasagna garden style this fall, but still have so many more. And my guys do love that cardboard. The easiest I can come up with is to soak it and make it easier to tear. But I fear I lose some of the glue they love so much that way. There HAS to be a way!

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I spent 25 bucks at walmart for a 6page cross cut paper shredder. Model is wm675xb. I pre tear up my boxes and slowly feed pieces into the unit. Anytime it runs for a couple of minutes without cool down the unit shuts off for a bit until it cools, and after doing that once I have not done again. Now I tear a couple of pieces and feed, tear a couple more and feed...seems to time out just right and no overheat at all.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:43AM
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dowbright(z6 in Missouri)

I keep thinking a paper cutter doing cardboard will burn out really quickly. You don't think so?

How long does it take to shred, oh, a 4' x 4' piece of cardboard? Thanks a million for the feedback! This is driving me nuts at night when I try to go to sleep. I can't stop thinking about finding a solutions. ;D

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 1:20AM
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Three comments:

1) I burned out my 6 sheet paper shredder shredding cardboard. An 8 or 10 sheet shredder will be less likely to burn out.

2) Freecycle is a great way to get rid of large cardboard boxes. People who are moving are eager to take them.

3) a 4 x 4 sheet of cardboard can be shredded in less than a minute. Hand tear it into pieces about 6 inches wide, and feed each piece into the shredder. Narrower pieces are less likely to burn out the shredder.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 2:41PM
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I break down cardboard boxes and either:

  1. lay on garden trails and cover with mulch (weed barrier), or

  2. pile up on the ground during damp months and easily tear apart and shred by hand. I do not worry about glue loss.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 4:41PM
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I have had my shredder for a few months, no sign of burn out. As an amazon prime member there is a steady supply of boxes in my house, and this cheap shredder is still going strong. If you put something in that is too large it does not shred as fast and you know to not go as big for the next piece. If and when it does kick I will just get another one.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 9:33AM
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dowbright(z6 in Missouri)

I'm getting a shredder! I went a little crazy and got a bigger model, but thanks for the idea, kids. I'm so excited. :D

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 7:22PM
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I use a utility knife to slice boxes into strips then cross cut them with heavy kitchen shears. Sometimes I wish I had a paper cutter but then think about all the clutter around myhouse and don't want to add more.

It took me about 15 mins to cut all the cardboard from the boxes our kitchen cabinets came in into strips. That was about ten boxes each larger than an assembled cabinet box.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 3:00PM
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Corrugated cardboard does not have to be finely shredded to work in vermicomposting. I hand-tear to something around 4" square and toss it in.

Liquor boxes and their inserts make especially easy hand tearing.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 9:34PM
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Please specify your definitions of cardboard. I think a six sheet shredder is not shreding my definition of cardboard which is corrigated cardboard but more like card stock or paper board which is what cereal boxes are made of. I do not think a six sheet shredder can shred any cardboard boxes, only paperboard cereal boxes.

The highest use needs to be thought of for each waste product. Or if you own the item then your highest need use for the product counts the most. If cardboard originated in America as opposed to suspect cardboard from overseas that could of been sprayed with anything for long term sea transit. Not having a lot of upper body strength I would in a large bin soak each side of the cardboard in as little as a quarter inch of water in a container. Or spray with water. Use time not strength. This method uses time not energy to do the work. Soggy cardboard is easiy torn. The water with the glue is soaked up by that last piece of cardboard or poured over the bin.

The best use of cardboard might be for walk ways.

In My Non Humble Opinion cardboard should not be soaked and the water put in the sewer. Nor should vegetables be drained of water to be put into the sewer and the dehydrated vegetables void of vitamins and good stuff but only the cellulose shell then fed to the worms.

But I could easily be wrong and wholeheartely agree with the next poster or two who might easily shoot huge holes in my argument.

I so agree with those already "half torn" box insert dividers for many items as great stuff. If one has lots of boxes, recycle the boxes but keep the dividers for the good guys.

And please tell me that no wormers ever leave their damp cardboard coasters behind while there are chlldren... ok worms starving at home.

At some point the cost of the shredder needs to be considered in the calculations of value of the product. Are $300 worth of shredders being used up to produce $500 worth of product? For a prized hobby no expense is too much, even thousands to get that perfect, judged ribbon. For a self sustaining business maybe.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 11:27PM
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dowbright(z6 in Missouri)

equinox, my definition of cardboard is corrugated. They seem to eat that with a lot more gusto than plain simple cardboard panels. From what I read, the glue does give more nutrients.

I don't want to throw out that good water either. I freeze things briefly to break it down, and if the bin won't take the water, I use it on the garden or in the tumbler. Agree with your Not So Humble Opinion!

mr_yan and colin3, alas! I can't tear wet cardboard anymore, even though I did several gallons last week. But no more. Even wet it just hurts too much later that night. Arthritis. Doesn't hurt when I do it, but I pay the price later. After that last venture, I decided the price was just too high. ;)

Secret Tip: Don't get old!!!

Follow-up Tip: IGNORE previous tip. DO get old, because the alternative is no fun! And I'm still having lots of it.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:09AM
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My six sheet cross cut does shred cardboard, both cereal boxes(easy) and thicker corrugated (more difficult). The trick is not to overheat the machine, as it is not really designed for more than six sheets of paper. Most of my boxes come from amazon where I do a lot of online shopping. I still tear the box into pieces that the machine can handle and try to only feed a little at a time, have had no problems.

Before I was cutting the cardboard by hand for use as bedding for my worm bin and as brown material for my composters in the yard. I found it to be very tedious and my hand would eventually cramp. The small investment, for me, of twenty five dollars is well worth the months I have been able to just feed in and have perfect shredded cardboard and paper.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:17AM
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dowbright(z6 in Missouri)

bluedood: You are the one that inspired me to get the (stronger) shredder. I suspect I'll enjoy doing it slowly, watching it accumulate. Hoping I don't burn too much energy, but hey.

equinox: My pleasure in the worms IS worth the investment. You're right. I get plenty of "happy" just watching them live, grow, and make compost.

But are you seriously telling me that we import CARDBOARD? Even that? Even our packing material comes from overseas?????

No wonder our economy is in failure. Good grief. That's insanity.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:41AM
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For the record, yes, a 6 sheet shredder will shred corrugated cardboard, but, as has been pointed out, you need to be careful not to overwork the machine. Hand tear the cardboard into narrow pieces before feeding it into the machine. Mine eventually burned out. My 8 sheet shredder eats up anything I feed it.

And, no, we don't import cardboard. We import goods packaged in cardboard. We actually export cardboard. All that cardboard you send to the recycler is baled, put on a ship and sent to China to be recycled. Chinese goods are packaged in boxes made of that recycled cardboard and sent to the US.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 1:40PM
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yes, yes, yes ... where they spend time at sea in huge shipping containers. To prevent the spread of bugs the boxes are sometimes sprayed with whatever is allowed in China to protect the goods. I have heard of this in relation to wooden furniture. The vermicomposter determined something bad for their worms was in the cardboard from some new wood furniture. Pallets also could of held chemicals. 99 percent of the time the past history of cardboard and pallets would not be of importance. I only mention it for those who want to be ultra no chemicals ever. If the corrigated box says Mom's Spaghetti Sauce I would use it. If it says rat poison in Chinese with a picuture of a dead rat in a crossed out red circle I would not.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 4:02PM
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dowbright(z6 in Missouri)

Lordy, lordy, lordy, what a fine mess we've made of the world. No politics here, I know, but with all the shipping back and forth, and poisons for doing just about anything, we're lucky to still be here.

Not sure that will be the truth down the road. Sometimes it's good to be getting older. I hope I won't be here to see it.

But history shows that greed, time and time again, brings down--awwww, never mind!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 11:13PM
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