Can a Paper Shredder Shred Cardboard? – Is it SAFE?

There are a lot of things you can do with a paper shredder. You can use it to shred up confidential documents, credit cards, or even old photos that have sentimental value for you.

However, is it safe to put cardboard in the shredder? Is there anything special I need to be careful about when using my paper shredder?

As a general rule a 12 sheet paper shredder is sufficient for light cardboard shredding. However, for casual cardboard shredding, it is usually recommended that a shredder with at least 18 to 24 sheets or a heavy-duty paper shredder be used.

Can a paper shredder shred cardboard? – Is it safe?
Can a paper shredder shred cardboard? – Is it safe?

What is a paper shredder and what does it do?

A paper shredder is a machine that cuts up paper into small, confetti-like pieces. This makes it extremely difficult for anyone to put the shredded bits back together and read what was on them.

Companies need this type of security when they are discarding sensitive information such as bank statements or tax returns because if someone got their hands on these documents, it could potentially cause harm to both the company itself and the people who shopped there.

Can a Paper Shredder Shred Cardboard?

A paper shredder is typically used to cut up paper. Even many lower to mid-range paper shredder machines can handle some other stuff like Credit Cards, CDs/DVDs, Soft cardboard, etc.

So as a general rule a minimum of 12 sheet paper shredder is good enough for light cardboard shredding work.

But it is mostly recommended that a shredder having a minimum of 18 to 24 sheets or a heavy-duty paper shredder is best for casual cardboard shredding.

Why would you want to use a paper shredder on cardboard?

Some people may wish to use a paper shredder on cardboard because they have old boxes that are being thrown away.

These boxes might be used for moving, or could be the boxes your new TV came in.

Either way, they can’t be recycled themselves unless you shred them and try to recycle. And you don’t want to keep them for very long as they will take up a lot of space that could otherwise go to something more useful or decorative.

Is it safe to use a paper shredder on cardboard?

To shred cardboard, you will need a heavy-duty paper shredder. A 12 sheet capacity is the bare minimum I would consider for this use, however, an 18 or 24 sheet capacity may be preferable.

Ensure that you read the manual before shredding cardboard, and never try to do this with a flimsy or personal-use paper shredder.

The reason for this is simple – heavy-duty paper shredders are designed to deal with thicker materials which can take up more power from the machine without it slowing down.

Personal-use machines will wear out much quicker if they have to work harder than usual, so stay away from these kinds of machines no matter how tempting they may be!

It is safe to shred cardboard in a paper shredder providing you opt for an appropriate model that can handle it – one with high enough sheet capacity and strong enough cutting blades.

If your machine isn’t up to the job then it may get jammed or broken, but if you are careful when inserting your sheets of card into your shredder then it should be perfectly safe.

Dangers of using a paper shredder on any material – incorrectly?

You should never use your paper shredder on any material if the machine doesn’t state that it is capable of doing so.

If you try to do this with personal use, the light-duty model then you are forcing the motor beyond its capabilities and will risk causing damage or breaking parts of the paper shredder which could lead to injury.

Some people also think they can safely put large amounts of sheets into their low-capacity machines at once.

For example, putting 12 pages (which takes up one sheet) in at once instead of inserting them singly via the manual feed slot.

This may jam your machine very quickly leading to similar issues as mentioned above!

The best advice I have for avoiding these problems is simply being aware when you are using your paper shredder.

If it says on the box that you can use the card, then go ahead – but don’t force heavy-duty models to do so if they were designed for only light-duty applications.

Never put more than one piece of material through at once unless specifically stated by your machine’s manufacturer!

Pros and cons of using a paper shredder on cardboard

Pros: You can recycle your cardboard and turn it into something new – so you don’t need to throw away the boxes they came in.

There is no mess with this option as opposed to simply throwing them out, and there is nothing dangerous about using a paper shredder on cardboard.

If you opt for an appropriate model that will cope with thick materials such as corrugated card boxes.

Cons: If you use too small of a paper shredding machine then it may not be capable of handling thicker items like heavy-duty or corrugated cards.

Which could lead to damage or jams quite quickly. Also, remember only ever put one piece of material through unless stated by your manufacturer!

What are some other ways to dispose of large quantities of cardboard?

  • Place your cardboard at a recycling facility near you.
  • Give them away to someone who’ll reuse them.
  • Give them away for composting
  • Give them away for packing
  • Look into a bulky goods collection
  • Rent a cardboard dumpster
  • Send for garbage
  • Make a backyard obstacle course for your children (or yourself if you don’t have children)
  • You can use them as sleds (if you get snow)

Which type of paper will not be shredded by a paper shredder?

  • Clothes.
  • Sticky notes or Post-its.
  • Large pieces of paper, such as posters or other forms of art that are not standard sized for an office printer/copier machine.

Never use your shredder on anything but the materials it is supposed to be used with – if you try and force something else through then damage could occur!

Also, there’s no need to do this at all because most grocery stores have recycling bins where you can put cardboard boxes after taking them off their contents (if they are clean).

You may even get a discount by doing so too 🙂

Cardboard will also compost down over time naturally without any special treatment needed which saves landfill space in turn saving us money!

So cardboards can be used for a lot more than just being thrown out!


Are you still wondering whether a paper shredder can be used on cardboard?

As long as you choose the right type of machine then it should definitely be able to do so without any issues.

The only thing that may occur is damage if your model cannot handle thicker pieces, but this risk will also depend upon the brand and manufacturer too.

So don’t worry – just make sure you have all the facts before deciding what kind of material to put through first!

You should never attempt something like this with inappropriate models or machines because they are not designed for use with anything other than standard office papers which are thin sheets rather than thick boxes!

Always read carefully about these details before using them yourself 🙂

The option overall would probably be recycling centers where you can place your cardboard and they will take it in turn to reuse or recycle them.

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