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An alternative to shredding

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If you have a lot of papers with personal information, mushing them might be an alternative to shredding them.

Every idiot in the world sends mail with personal information. Most household shredders struggle to keep up with the mountain of paper that has to be shredded.

One alternative is to add them to your woodstove. This isn’t that great as you don’t want the smell of burning paper permeating the neighborhood. Also, plastic such as credit cards and inserts could damage your fireplace. Finally, paper can get the stove too hot and result in a lot of ash.

An alternative is turning the papers to mush. You need:

  • A place to do this
  • A container to hold the paper
  • Water
  • 1/2 cup or so of bleach
  • Something to stir the mess with.
  • Optional – Hardware cloth or something to strain the results. You could also use a 5 gallon bucket or trashcan with some holes in the bottom for drainage.

The process is simple:

  • Remove any plastic cards such as credit cards (They won’t turn into mush.. Duh).
  • Add the papers to the container.
  • Fill with water (Not to the top. Leave room to be able to stir)
  • Add about 1/2 cup of bleach for every five gallons.
  • Let it soak for an hour or two
  • Stir, Repeat as necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Only kidding about the salt and pepper.
  • It won’t take long to become mush. When it’s ready, drain it, stir it up and dry it out. Be careful of your clothes with the Clorox and also any good vegetation.

Decide how to dispose of the resulting block of paper mache. Some people use this in their fireplaces or woodstoves. I haven’t tried that. I’m not sure if it counts as recyclable or if it is considered trash.

Summary – It is an easy way to render a pile of papers with private information into something completely unusable by identity thieves.

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