Short Answer: You can shred documents for free by attending limited-time free shredding events sponsored by local governments or businesses. Major office supply stores like Staples also offer low-cost shredding services and occasionally offer coupons that allow you to shred for free. Find more details about where to shred documents for free or cheaply below.
Free Shredding Services
The easiest way to shred old papers for free is to find a shredding event in your city or a nearby municipality. Numerous local governments, businesses, nonprofits, banks, and credit unions hold such events regularly for the benefit of the community or to promote a particular good or service.
Below is a list of entities that regularly hold free shredding events by region. Note that some of these companies offer paid shredding services but also offer community shredding events.
- Shred-it (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania)
- ALL-SHRED Inc. (Maryland, Pennsylvania)
- PROSHRED Security (Pennsylvania)
- Titan Mobile Shredding (Pennsylvania)
- Shred-it (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)
- Glendale Document Shredding (Arizona)
- Bank of Marin (California)
- LeMay Mobile Shredding (Washington)
- Shred-it (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia)
- iTHINK Financial (Florida, Georgia)
- Little Rock Paper Shredding (Arkansas)
- Orlando Document Shredding (Florida)
- Atlanta Shredding Service (Georgia)
- LGFCU (North Carolina)
- Dallas Paper Shredding (Texas)
- Document Shredding & Storage (Texas)
- ALL-SHRED Inc. (Virginia)
- Shred-it (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin)
- Allshred Services (Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio)
- Midway Document Destruction (Illinois)
- Corrigan Record Storage (Michigan)
- Detroit Document Shredding (Michigan)
- Minneapolis Paper Shredding (Minnesota)
- St. Louis Paper Shredding (Missouri)
- Omaha Document Shredding (Nebraska)
If you’re unable to find a nearby free shredding service in the above list, you may be able to find free shredding nearby by checking with your local government or credit unions. (Credit unions offer these sorts of events more often than local banks.) To find contact information for your county government, you can use the National Association of Counties map tool. To discover local credit unions, visit the MyCreditUnion.gov locator.
Want to digitize your documents before you shred them? See our previous research on where to scan documents.
Low-Cost Shredding Options
Office-supply stores like Staples, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and The UPS Store offer shredding services for about $1 per pound of paper at participating locations. Generally, your documents won’t get shredded in-store and are instead locked in a secure location until a third party can cart them away for shredding.
These same retailers sometimes publish coupons that allow you to shred documents for free during a specific period. Check the published coupons for Staples, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and The UPS Store to see if they’re currently offering free shredding.
Note that free shredding offers come with limitations. Typically, only the first five pounds are free. Some coupons also require a minimum purchase before you receive free shredding. Keep in mind that all of the coupons have expiration dates.
Additionally, FedEx Office Print & Ship Centers sometimes have coupons for discounted shredding. However, the FedEx shredding rate is more expensive than the rate you’ll find at other office stores — $1.50 per pound.