Paper Shredding vs Burning: Which is More Effective?

In this blog post, we will compare paper shredding vs burning. You may have been thinking “why would I ever need to burn paper?”

The answer is that there are a variety of situations where it may be appropriate.

For example, if you’re cleaning out your office and want to discard sensitive documents or even just trying to create a cozy fire in the wintertime, then you might need some shredded or burned papers too!

If you’re still on the fence about which option is right for you, read on below for more information!

The most common question about paper destruction is, is it better to burn or shred paper? So, here is the answer to that question.

Paper Shredding vs Burning: As a general rule if documents contain sensitive information and security is more important than the cost of disposal then paper shredding is the best option and if the cost of disposal is more important than security then Burning paper would be recommended.

Paper Shredding Vs Burning
Paper Shredding Vs Burning

Pro and Cons of Paper Shredder

The pros of paper shredding are that it is safe, secure, and easy to do. You can put all your confidential documents in the shredder while you watch TV or listen to music while you work!

Shredded papers also go through a complicated process called pulping where they’re turned into tiny pieces so there’s no way for people to read them again even if someone took them out of the garbage.

Cons are that it isn’t really cost-effective because your shredded paper will be small enough you have to use handfuls at once which wastes more paper than necessary over time.

It may only save money every 100 uses but after about two years this could add up to hundreds of dollars depending on how much paper you usually go through each month!

There’s also potential for paper jams and other issues with the machine itself.

Shredding Pros:

  • Discreetly destroy sensitive documents you don’t want anyone else to see or use against you
  • The process of pulping makes it nearly impossible to retrieve any information of the pieces even if they’re taken out of the garbage
  • Comes with a variety of safety features to ensure the machine is only shredding paper and not anything else

Shredding Cons:

  • Wastes more paper than necessary because shredded pieces are so small they have to be used in handfuls at once instead of one sheet as intended
  • Higher potential for jams, malfunctions, or other technical issues that may require professional service visits over time. If you’re really looking into getting rid of documents then it might be worth it!
  • The small size means more waste than a fire would create
  • Not cost-effective compared to burning

Pro and Cons of Burning Paper

The pros of burning your paper are that you don’t need to find the right-sized pieces or deal with any other issues.

You can just grab a bunch and light them on fire, making for great bonfires in the summertime!

It’s also more cost-effective because you only use as much paper as needed rather than having dozens of shreds at once which could occupy unnecessary space.

Cons are that it is dangerous if done incorrectly since there are no safeguards against accidents like fires breaking out or people getting burned by hot ashes.

Burning paper may be difficult depending on what kinds of materials you’re trying to burn – some papers turn into ash easily while others take hours before they’re completely gone so this would require an entire day spent burning a load of paper.

Burning Pros:

Burning Cons:

  • Dangerous if done incorrectly and not properly secured
  • Takes a long time to burn down completely depending on what kind of paper it is. May need an entire day for smaller loads!
  • Dangerous if done incorrectly. You need a lot of caution and safety precautions when burning paper because it could easily result in fires, burns, or other injuries that can lead to professional medical care.

Factors to be considered for Paper Shredding vs Burning:

Which Option Is Right For You? Now that you’ve seen the pros and cons of each, let’s answer the big question about which option would be best suited for your needs.

Sensitive Information

It depends on how much sensitive information you have laying around but there are also other factors like whether or not shredders can handle your specific types of papers.


This is probably the most important aspect to take into consideration. How much money are you saving over time by using either method?

Do you have any other costs involved like how much it would cost to buy a new shredder every couple of years depending on how often paper jams or malfunctions occur?

If so, that could easily outweigh all potential savings from burning!

Time Convenience

How long does each process typically take? Is one significantly faster than the other and therefore better suited for your busy schedule?

Weighing this factor alongside everything else can help give us an answer as well.


Is there anything we didn’t cover here about ease of use and safety precautions that could be important to you?

For example, some people may have physical limitations that would make it difficult for them to burn paper instead of shredding it.

This could be an additional factor in your decision.

Environmental Friendly

This should be the least important factor because you should always prioritize your own safety first.

We wouldn’t recommend burning paper if it’s at all dangerous to do so!

However, please consider this final aspect for reference as well since there are some things that can help make sure you’re being safe and responsible while doing either option.

In our opinion, we recommend going with the option that’s best for you based on all these factors taken into consideration!

If you are looking for faster processing but still want less waste then burning is probably a good choice since fewer pieces make trash disposal much easier and cheaper over time compared to buying a brand new shredder every couple of years just because there might be more frequent jams or malfunctions due to usage.

However, if cost-effectiveness really isn’t as big of an issue then maybe go with what works better for your situation depending on your preferences!

Questions You May Have About Burning or Shredding Your Papers

FAQ: Can I burn shredded paper?

Yes, you can burn the shredded paper. As long as you’re burning it in a safe way to avoid fires, burns, or other injuries that can lead to professional medical care then there’s no reason why you can’t burn shredded papers!

FAQ: Can you burn paper in the garden?

You can burn paper in the garden as long as you do it safely.

The best way to go about doing this is to make sure your pile of shredded or torn-up papers is tightly compressed so that they’ll light easier and be able to catch fire more quickly.

You should also make sure you’re not too close to trees, bushes, or other flammable objects nearby since those could easily cause a bigger problem than just burning some paper!

FAQ: How do you make fire starters out of shredded paper??

You can make fire starters using shredded paper by making a small pile of the shredded pieces and adding some liquid wax for lighting the fire.

You should be able to use this as an alternative to lighter fluid or other flammable substances that could work better for your specific needs!

FAQ: Is burning paper bad?

Burning paper is not necessarily “bad.” In fact, some people might find it more environmentally friendly than shredding since they’re reducing their volume of waste in general which means fewer trash bags or containers will go into landfills over time.

However, you do need to follow proper safety precautions when doing so to avoid injuries like burns or fires that could lead to bigger problems if left unattended.

If you are planning on burning papers please consider looking up how to do it safely before beginning.

FAQ: What’s the best way to burn paper?

The best and safest way to burn papers is by making a very tight pile of them under dry conditions. You can use wax or other flammable liquids if you want extra help in lighting your papers on fire faster but be sure not to leave these substances near any flames since they could cause bigger problems than just burning some shredded pieces!

FAQ: What can I do with shredded paper?

If you don’t have any use for the shredded papers yourself then it’s probably best to just throw them away in your regular trash bin or recycling since they still contain ink and other harmful substances.

However, if you want a slightly better alternative, consider using these as mulch for trees/plants!

This way, at least something useful will be able to come from all of that wasted paper instead of ending up in landfills where it could take years before breaking down naturally.

FAQ: Can torn sheets be burned?

Yes, pieces of ripped-off (but not completely torn) sheets can absolutely be burned safely It would probably help make the process easier though if you used some kind of larger open flame, such as a fire pit or fireplace!

FAQ: Does shredded paper burn well?

Yes, shredded papers can be burned very easily. If you are using a larger flame source it will catch easier and burn much faster than if you were to just light each individual sheet of paper on fire.

FAQ: Can I recycle shredded papers?

Depending on where you live, there are different recycling options that may or may not be available.

If your city offers a program for recycled papers then it’s definitely worth looking into whether they accept shredded paper!

This way, at least some of the users can come back to what was previously just waste material.

Is It Better to Burn or Shred Paper?

Shredded paper has a variety of security and recycling benefits. First, it is much harder to reassemble shredded pieces than burned ones; this makes your sensitive documents far more secure!

  • Additionally, the smaller the size of each piece, the easier they are for waste disposal companies to handle – but do be sure that you’re still shredding the pieces into small enough chunks to be safe! One more thing is that shredded paper can often be recycled, whereas burned papers cannot.
  • If you’re looking for a fire and want to save some time on shredding or don’t mind having larger pieces of incinerated paper, then burning your documents might work better for you too!
  • Burning does create less waste than shredding – although it obviously makes no use out of whatever was written on those papers before they were set ablaze.
  • If you have a fireplace at home that’s open season all winter long as well as a backyard bonfire pit where fires are permitted in the spring and summer seasons, then going with this option may make sense for you.
  • Shredded paper has many different uses, including the creation of compost.
  • Burning paper creates ash that can be used as fertilizer, completing a recycling circle!
  • For this reason, it is often encouraged to burn your papers rather than shredding them – if you’re going to create some incinerated ashes anyway and don’t mind having larger pieces of burned documents.
  • While burning papers does leave more waste behind than first imagined due to all those tiny little particles in the air after they’ve been set on fire (those come from the chemicals inside), it does do less damage overall for our environment than destroying them with a shredder would.
  • So what’s right for you? If privacy is your main concern when getting rid of old paperwork, then the shredded paper might work better for you.
  • However, if you want to save some time on shredding paper or don’t mind having larger pieces of burned documents, then burning your papers might be the better option!
  • If privacy is important and you’d like smaller pieces than what would result from a typical fire, then choose shredded paper.
  • If speed matters most for getting rid of old paperwork but still want the tidiness that comes with stacking together one’s ashes in an urn before it gets buried in the ground (like my family does), then grab yourself a lighter and get ready to burn those sensitive files away!
  • And if recycling is more beneficial for our environment when compared against both options – although they are each next best thing after putting them through a normal composting cycle – go ahead and send your papers off for a green cremation (aka paper recycling).

Conclusion: In our opinion, we recommend going with the option that’s best for you based on your specific situation.

If you have no use for shredded pieces then why not just burn everything instead?

However, if you want smaller pieces but still need to save money over time perhaps a good shredder is the way to go for you. Or maybe recycling just makes more sense in your case?

It really depends on what options are available in terms of where you can burn or shred paper and how much it will cost in order to do so that make this decision an important one to consider!