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iamlook

Cardboard Shredding, Shredding Cardboard

iamlook
12 years ago

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.

Comments (45)

  • PRO
    equinoxequinox
    12 years ago

    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.

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  • pjames
    12 years ago

    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.

  • plumiebear
    12 years ago

    "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.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  • rfonte649
    12 years ago

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

  • cbusohio
    12 years ago

    I use bandsaw works great.

  • hank2230
    12 years ago

    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.

  • Shaul
    12 years ago

    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.

    Shaul

  • steamyb
    12 years ago

    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.

  • capobeach
    12 years ago

    I've been using this model for over a year with no problem:
    http://www.staples.com/Staples-22-Sheet-Cross-Cut-Shredder/product-nr_740131?cmArea=SEARCH

    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.

  • captaindirt
    10 years ago

    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.
    Thanks,
    CD

  • mendopete
    10 years ago

    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.

  • PeterK2
    10 years ago

    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.

  • morgan_3
    10 years ago

    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.

  • tn_gardening
    10 years ago

    I agree with morgan

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

  • brinbull
    10 years ago

    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!

  • JerilynnC
    10 years ago

    I use this 22 sheet cross cut shredder:
    http://www.staples.com/Staples-22-Sheet-Cross-Cut-Shredder/product_740131

    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.

  • topnotchgardner
    8 years ago

    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

  • hummersteve
    8 years ago

    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.

  • Jasdip
    8 years ago

    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.

  • 11otis
    8 years ago

    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.

  • kferg9804
    7 years ago

    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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9JHbRpwbwQ
    I use for rabbit bedding and worm food/bedding.


  • PRO
    Dan Packaging Machinery
    7 years ago

    There are many cardboard shredders on the market we have a large range danpackagingmachinery.co.uk if its for bedding then speak with us and we can advice.

  • Jon Biddenback
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I just shredded about 1.5 pickup truck beds full of corrugated cardboard by hand. I soaked it in a vessel full of rainwater and lawn clipping leach for a few minutes at a time, and it tore to tatters very easily. Moistening it doesn't do much but when it's saturated, that stuff loses structural integrity quick.

  • hummersteve
    7 years ago

    Truthfully I find I dont really need cardboard in my bins. When I want a little cardboard I just cut it up by hand. Mainly for me its peat, shredded paper , coffee grounds, food scraps, etc. just stuff that I have , once in a while cardboard goes in.


  • baldeagleomelette
    6 years ago

    My worms love to hang out in wet, decomposing cardboard. I tear by hand, and get an unlimited quantity of cardboard and compost able food scraps from work :)

    If it's a new bin, I like the tip of soaking the cb in worm tea for a few minutes to speed up the acclimatization of the worms to their new home.

  • dott
    6 years ago

    I have a 12 sheet Fellowes shredder I bought about a decade ago. Works fine for most anything, but when I finally did wreck the gears, about a couple years into use, the Fellowes company as wonderful, and sent me steel replacement gears completely free! My mechanically-inclined spouse was able to install them easily with the instructions that Fellowes sent us with the new gears. The shredder has reverse if you get something too thick stuck, and a safety that quits if it gets too hot, takes about 40 minutes to cool completely and reset itself if you push it too hard, usually that takes non-stop shredding for over an hour. It's rare that I ever need to do that much!

  • worldcomposting
    6 years ago

    I have an old Staples M3 Mailmate that is doing a great job after months of shredding paper for multiple bins. I think the newer models cost around $90 but you can probably find an old one online.

    Video

  • theparsley
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I have managed to get through quite a bit of cardboard with my office shredder. I've been gradually processing a large quantity of big pizza boxes (pizza party after my move). I'm going to assume the pizza grease keeps the machinery lubricated. :-) Of course I also have a backlog of large shipping boxes, even though most of those get broken down and put out with the recycling.

    My paper shredder is rated up to 8 sheets of paper at a time, and it seems to handle cardboard quite well as long as I cut it into smaller pieces first. That's a lot of work for me since I don't have normal muscle strength, but as with just about everything else, I chip away at the job bit by bit.

    I've killed many paper shredders in the past, but not on account of cardboard - it's been because I always get impatient and start pushing in more sheets at a time than I'm supposed to. And I always buy the small cheap home versions. Killed a few Mailmates in my day. I'm trying to reform now.

    I still have a lot of old paper files to go through and shred where needed, but the mixing paper shreddings with cardboard shreddings seems to make better worm bedding than just paper shreddings alone.

  • baldeagleomelette
    6 years ago

    Seems like quite a few worm kingpins up in the houzz. If my worms ate so much cardboard that I needed a machine to do the task, I'd hire someone to work the machine. If it breaks, it comes out of their pay - no excuses.

  • worldcomposting
    6 years ago

    baldeagleomelette,

    For a while I did this by hand with a utility knife just to break the boxes into smaller pieces. Running it through a shredder was much easier and since I already had it a free option. I also was going through a few pounds of veggies a week juicing which is why I needed so much material.

  • baldeagleomelette
    6 years ago

    I hear ya wormaculture, just giving y'all a hard time.

    i've found that the best way to store cardboard is on the ground. Draws a host of native worms, breaks down and gets slimy the way they like it. I have unlimited supply. Gonna turn my oyster shell driveway into a worm bed/kill the weeds at the same time.

    Never bought worms before - my bins are filled with all squirms of life. Cb is the key to drawing the mothers.

  • worldcomposting
    6 years ago

    baldeagleomelette,

    When I moved into my house it was a new development and they stripped the top two feet of soil so I had no worms and nearly 100% clay. After living here a few years I finally started getting worms but it took a while. I also have an HOA that is very strict which is why this is all done in the house.

  • John Fortier
    6 years ago

    newbie here, however I was searching for weird things and ran into this cardboard thing. Figured I would throw in my .02 in case it may help anyone... I moisten my cardboard and put it in a 5 gallon bucket. Then I remove the shroud from my weed whacked and go to town with the cardboard in the bucket. It comes out looking like a cardboard version of the pine shavings we use for chicken bedding...

  • hummersteve
    6 years ago

    I wish I had my fellows w10c back as it worked a little better than my w11c but both will take corrugated cardboard standard size . You cant do the heavy duty cardboard wont even fit thru the slit[9"] and will jam if you do. So usually cut the cardboard in about 7" wide and run it thru. I have a smaller walmart for the newsprint , you can forget cardboard with that which is ok by me. By the way I only purchased the fellowes to do cardboard so either it works or it doesnt.

    I recently just filled a bin with shredded cardboard, shredded newsprint and a couple handfuls of aged compost and coco coir. I want to see what they will do with this , a first for me. BTW I did soak the cardboard before mixing in with the other stuff.

  • hummersteve
    6 years ago

    So just one day after the new shredded cardboard and newsprint mix, which I added a pocket of my usual bokashi mix , man the worms are already in the new tray by the bunches. I will be interested to see what this tray will look like a few weeks from now when I harvest it.

  • harry757
    6 years ago

    hsteve, you mentioned adding some of your "usual bokashi mix". By that do you mean your bokashi bran or some of the finished bokashi scraps? I added some recently harvested worms into some finished bokashi (mixed with newspaper) this past spring and the worms did NOT like it.They stayed in a tight little ball and wouldn't go into the mix so I put them in a different bin. I think a few of them died. I suspect it was just too acidic for them. Do you age your finished bokashi in any way before feeding to your worms? Ever had a reaction similar to the one I've described?

    Harry

  • hummersteve
    6 years ago

    Harry, yes I have seen it in my homemade bin and It seems to be more of a stress reaction to an improper balance in the bin. My bokashi is my own saved scraps. After I run this thru my juicer if its on the dry side I add the juice back in so its more of a slurry. Then that mix is saved in a container that will hold 1 to 2 gal. Sometimes I have too much and also use large empty coffee cans with lid. Store this stuff so fruit flies cant get to it . When you do feed it may have a mold covering on top dont worry about that , its fine. Worms will love it.

    Getting the bedding right in the first place is the key. The relation between bedding, pure food , and worms is important. Bokashi mix is all green/nitrogen with a little shredded paper is most likely not enough. Depending on what you use for your bedding doesnt always have to be the same, whether its peat, coco coir aged compost , shredded paper , cardboard. Im going to say that should be at least 80-85% of your bedding , then add a little bokashi mix in a corner . The bedding should be moist but not wet, then I cover this with several sheets of newprint dampened. Check on the food you added in a day or two and see if worms have moved to the food, if the visible food is gone you can add more in another area of the bin. After adding this food slurry , checking the next day sometimes I will see the bacteria in the food a it seems to moving. This means it is ready for the worms. The bacteria has to be breaking it down before they eat it and that is why it is better , that is, if you want it quicker . This doesnt have to be done this way , some people just chop it up and put it in in this way , just takes longer, hope my rambling has helped.


  • harry757
    6 years ago

    Gotcha. By the way, do you make your own bokashi bran from scratch like I do using fermented rice water, then milk, then bran? The first time I used the bran to ferment my food scraps I had good amounts of white mould on top but much less on the last few batches. Haven't been bold enough to try fermenting any meat or dairy because of concerns about smells and/or feeding the finished product to the worms. Have you bokashied any meat or dairy and tried feeding that to your worms?

    Harry

  • Mahal Kabayan Riverview
    5 years ago

    I was thinking of a garden chipper/shredder to tear up corrugated cardboard and newspaper (rolled up as "logs"). Has anyone tried this?

  • Shaul
    5 years ago

    Sounds like an interesting idea. Why don't you try it and then post your results?

  • tipytoes11
    5 years ago

    i have been tearing up paper today and was wishing i still had my shredder. all the comments above have reminded me to soak any cardboard 1st before tearing it up. good tip. my husband has already torn up some card for me to day. but next time i will soak 1st. i was going to ask about a cross cut shredder. would the confetti like pieces be to small for newspaper. just incase i see a 2nd hand shredder i would like to know before hand. cross cut or normal.

  • theparsley
    5 years ago

    I think either would work, but I've never tried a cross cut shredder. Mine is just the regular kind that makes strips. It's supposed to be able to take 8 sheets of paper at a time, which seems to equal some kinds of thinner cardboard but not thicker kinds.

    I also have a big strong pair of scissors that are the kind used to cut carpet, etc. They help in cutting up cardboard into smaller pieces that can go in the shredder more easily. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Wiss-10-in-Shop-Shear-W10TM/205034451

  • hummersteve
    2 years ago

    I like to shred corrugated cardboard for my factory worm farms and my fellowes w 11 c does a fine job. It wont do heavy duty cardboard simply because it wont go thru the slot. Many time I have cut up 4 ' boxes and sails thru them hardly slowing down. I do remove all the tape and labels I can and then cut the boxes into 6-7" widths. Its not good for newsprint but I still use it some for that job. but not the right tool for newsprint. Fellowes makes a great product. I just recently ordered a fellowers micro shredder as my cheap walmart paper shredder bit the dust.

  • Shaul
    2 years ago

    If the cardboard won't fit through the slot, then just separate the layers. I've been using that system for years.

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