Cardboard Shredding, Shredding Cardboard

iamlookNovember 21, 2010

Hello everyone,

I have a tiny space in town and cannot very well be building a land fill in my back yard - but I do not want to give my cardboard away - I figure I paid for it and I want any carbon value that it contains. I feed it (some of it) to my worms and any that I would put in my compost pile would - could not look like trash - there for it needs to be shredded.

I have tried the OfficeMart shredder and destroyed it; of course it is built not to be fixed but there are others, costlier, but less than machines advertised as cardboard shredders, that will shred stacks of papers.

Has anyone tried and succeeded in finding a way to shred cardboard, without spending $3,000+ on a machine?

I appreciate the quickness that wet cardboard will deteriorate, and if I had a larger back yard and the ability to dispose of my cardboard year round, then it would not be an issue. Having to save the materials for the summer months makes for a mess but shredded can be used for packing materials, worm bedding and compost carbon.

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I regularly shred cardboard with my cheap paper shredder ($30 or so at Walmart). It has a little place in the dead center of the feed slot for CD's. Now you don't want to get carried away and try full sheets. Cut the cardboard into strips 4 inches or so wide before feed them in. It will get warm but a little common sense says stop before you burn it up.

I shredded a couple boxes and some paper yesterday. Will probably do another box or 2 today.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 11:39AM
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I use cardboard sheets as the base to my square foot gardens and compost heaps. Even four sheets of corrigated cardboard will at the end of the summer be gone. 4 inch by 4 inch would still be the size of a leaf. Maybe it does not need to be quarter inch cut.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 12:27PM
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I do not cut up any cardboard that
I use directly.

I assumed iamlook was looking for a way to process cardboard for worm bedding. Some people like bigger chunks for that but I have begun to run most of my paper products thru my tumbler outside. It gets moist and begins to precompost before I add it to my bins. I really like the result.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 2:19PM
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plumiebear(z9? CA)

"Having to save the materials for the summer months makes for a mess but shredded can be used for packing materials, worm bedding and compost carbon."

I store cardboard flat. I imagine shredding it would make it bulkier. That's great for all the above purposes, but not so good for storage. I have plenty of other stuff to use as packing material. For my worm bins I soak the cardboard overnight before wringing "dryish" and tearing into chunks by hand. It's easy and doesn't take long. For dry bedding, I tear egg cartons by hand.

I can understand why some folks like to shred paper. It would certainly speed up decomposition. If I were to ever buy a shredder, I'd get something from Costco ($100 range) and use it a few minutes at a time so it doesn't burn out. If it does, Costco has a great return policy.

BTW, I would use a box cutter to break down cardboard boxes and sheets into something like 8" x 8" pieces. A shredder should be able to handle those without jamming or overheating. Note that really thick cardboard will probably not make it through these types of shredders.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 3:25PM
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rfonte649(9 La)

Tablesaw works really good.Stack the cardboard 2.5 to 3 inches and buzz away. Hint, use push sticks

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 6:04PM
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I use bandsaw works great.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 9:10PM
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hank2230(z5 Canton, Ohio)

I have used a Brothers shredder for awhile in the past but about a year ago I purchased a "Guillotine" from Office Max. Reasonably priced, about $65.00 +/-. Works like a charm, cuts heavy cardboard like a knife going through butter.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 3:25PM
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I use a regular (5-sheet) paper shredder to take care of all my needs. In general, I try to find the thinnest corrugated cardboard possible. I recently got an electric laminating machine off of FreeCycle, the heating element doesn't work but I don't need it anyway. The heavy rubber rollers easily compress most (thicker/heavier) cardboard to be able to make it into the paper shredder.
I consider the paper shredder to be one of the best investments I've made and just as essential as the heating elements, for winter.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 6:20PM
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I've already burned up 2 shredders. Not again. It may take the 'crew' awhile to eat that stuff, but heck- that's their job. My job is to throw it in the box. I use the 'wad and toss method' since this seems to create air pockets and I always find the cocoons/babies in whats left of the paper wads.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 8:50PM
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I've been using this model for over a year with no problem:

Wait for a good sale, I think I only paid around $100 for it.
The anti-jam sensor can be a bit picky with thick cardboard, but it never slows down and doesn't seem to get hot. It does brown paper grocery bags folded in half lengthwise no problem.

The instructions do warn not to use it on cardboard.
I do lubricate it regularly, which I think is vital in keeping a shredder from failing.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 11:31AM
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I've been vermicomposting for 11 months and things seem to be going good. My question is about using cardboard instead of paper. could you please tell me why you us cardboard and not shredded paper?
I need all the help I can get at this point.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 10:57PM
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Thick brown cardboard has built-in air spaces, no ink, and glue for protein. Tear it when damp, or wad it up, or lay down flat as a topper, or use dry to control excessive moisture. Worms love it.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 4:10PM
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Doesn't have to be either/or, I use both. When making my feeding mix if it's a bit wet, I'll add newspaper as it soaks up water without bulking things out too much (egg carton stuff is about the best for this). Corrugated cardboard is great for bedding and a home for worms as they love going inbetween the sides. Also good for keeping things breathable as it won't wad up as much as paper and of course has the corrugations. It also holds moisture of course.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 4:39PM
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iamlook, mendopete and PeterK2 got it right. Why waste energy and time on dry shredding. A 30 to 55 gallon plastic bucket and a utility knife will do the trick nicely. First stuff your plastic barrel with as much cardboard as you can and fill with water. In a couple of days it will be as limp as a noodle and can be added to your compost bins as needed.

One tip on cardboard is never store it inside your house. The glue is often infested with silverfish eggs.

I like cardboard for the bottoms of my dug down raised beds. Holds in moisture and makes it easy to replace the media as required.

Recycling cardboard is a simple process and stacking the boxes broken down with a cinder block on top is an easy way to save space. An easy way to tear down cardboard boxes is to wear a pair of gloves, hold the box against your chest for leverage, and pull the corners apart. Remove and discard any loose tape. Tape which does not come off easily will be easy to remove after soaking. Keep it as simple as possible.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 9:41AM
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I agree with morgan

Soak the cardboard and it becomes much easier to work with.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 7:45AM
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I burned through one shredder, but was willing to give it another try. The one I have now is a 15 sheet capacity shredder from office max, think it's a brothers. Works well, I'm just careful to make sure that the cardboard doesn't got all the way to the edges of the shredding slot, it got gunked up in the last one and warped the teeth badly.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 3:39AM
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I use this 22 sheet cross cut shredder:

While it isn't really cheap, it's no where near $3000. And I have destroyed 2 or 3 shredders over the years, but they weren't anywhere near as study as this thing.

It works great for cardboard and consumer reports rated it #1. I'm very happy with it and I highly recommend it.
Looks like capobeach is using the same model.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 8:11PM
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We use a commercial cardboard shredder that shreds old boxes. We have to flatten the box before feeding it through but it really processes the material easily. Our machine has lasted many years. We definitely recommend it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cardboard Shredders

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 5:21PM
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I bought this fellowes w10c. The instructions say it will not shred cardboard or newsprint, so what the hell does it shred. Ok Im ready to take it back but first I try it out. I had this 4' tall 2' square box in which I cut into 8" sections it shred the whole box no problem, I would recommend it for cardboard, might not be the thing for newsprint but it did it well enough to suit me.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 1:58AM
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Jeez, I have 2 extra shredders that aren't doing anything.
Average paper shredders, so I don't know how they would fare. But it's worth a try. I tore up a box last nite, didn't even think of trying a shredder.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 7:57PM
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I guess we are talking corrugated cardboard here?
I line my bins with several layers of corrugated CB. Once they are wet and soft, it's easy to tear them by hand into narrow strips/pieces (they must be loaded with MO) and put new dry pieces for lining. This really help absorb extra moisture, especially in the bins w/o drilled holes at the bottom.
Rinse and repeat.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 6:41PM
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I have built a DIY shredder that reduces the size of cardboard quickly and easily. Cost depends on skills and resources you have to build it (I spent $100 and a weekend to build). see it on Youtube at
I use for rabbit bedding and worm food/bedding.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2015 at 6:19PM
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