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I need to buy a waste shredder. What kind should I choose?

Posted on December 31, 2013 By Olli Honkamäki

Buying a waste shredder can be quite a challenging rehearsal. There are plenty of technologies and manufacturers and all claim to provide the best solution. The needs of today can change quickly and nobody wants to end up finding out having invested a lot of money in a machine that is not fit for purpose. We'd like to bring up some aspects worth considering when buying a shredder.

I need to buy shredder… but what kind? Today’s market is overwhelmed by different kinds of shredders, grinders, fast-speed, slow-speed, chippers, pre-shredders, primary shredders, tub grinders etc. Choosing the right one for your business can be extremely difficult. They all come with their own basic technology, horse power, rotors and settings. All these features will typically take you off the track when thinking about what this machine needs perform and how does it make you money.

Let’s start off with making money! First you need to look in to the investment costs and operational costs before actually calculating your cost per ton. The cost per ton is a simple figure that helps to understand your end product selling price and gives you a chance to calculate your profits. This is also the easiest way to compare different shredding processes and systems to eachother. Below is a cost calculation comparing two different solutions. Shredding solution 1 requires only one machine to produce the wanted particle sizes and the second solution requires a trommel screen in addition to the shredder to produce the wanted end product.


As you notice the shredding solution 1 will provide higher profits. You should base your decision making on the profitability that the machinery can provide. The waste shredding business is always simple maths between two different units.

The second issue when choosing a right type of shredder or grinder is the end product it can produce. As your customers are very particular with what kind of material they want in their recycling process, you should carefully examine the end products that the solutions can provide you now and in the future. As the recycling processes will change every year, the solution you choose needs to adapt to this process now and in the future. Even though the process may look perfectly suitable for you this year, the oncoming years may make your investment useless as changes in your customers processes take place. This requires flexibility and versatility in the solutions to adapt to future needs and keep you in the game in the changing environment.


Technologies vary a lot between different waste shredders. The shredders could roughly be categorized in three distinct levels: pure pre-shredders, fine-shredders and multi-use shredders. As the pure pre-shredders do not create the end product but only downsize the shredded material,  they are typically very good at dimensional lumber and anything that only needs only breaking the material in half. Typically these pre-shredders (such as Doppstadt, Hammel, Komptech) are of the old technology that get the work done when end particle size is not of importance.

Fine-shredders or fast speed grinders (CBI, Doppstadt, UNTHA) are the second category in this field. These machines typically shred only clean materials without impurities cutting against the screen and thus creating the wanted end product. When investing in these machines you need to be sure your waste stream is pure and homogenous all the way. You can imagine what happens if metal or any impurity ends between the fast moving blades. Hardly ever are these fast speed shredder/grinders acquired separately without any other type of equipment. Typical processes for such machines are clean wood projects where the machine solely shreds logs, stumps or green waste.

RDF Production

The third category is the one using the latest 21st century technology, i.e. the multi-use shredders (TANA). These shredders combine the good parts of both fast speed shredders and pre-shredders. These machines can be adjusted to any type of material and particle sizes. This technology allows material to be shred and cut in one pass to create the wanted particle sizes. The machines can be also fitted with a screen that creates the wanted end product particle size. This type of multi-use shredder can match the capacity of any slow speed shredder when needed. Used correctly they can cut off one or several units from the investments and be used as sole shredders.

Calculation example of an old technology investment vs. a multi-use waste shredder investment costs:

Calculation chart

Choosing the right shredding system and technology for your processes can save you easily hundreds of thousands Euros. The investing costs of a multi-use waste shredder are low and the flexible process creates you the same quality product with higher margins,the versatility of a TANA Shark makes your business more stable and tangible to meet the needs for the ever so changing recycling business.

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See also:
Russia is building new sanitary landfills – how to prolong their lifecycle from the start?
Beyond the machines – 3 reasons to choose Tana
China’s plastic waste ban is an opportunity for a prosperous business
Leave a comment
Monifa Bishop (Genesis Recycling Mgmt Solutions), 20.08.2015 08:24
Does Tana products have the ability to shred used conveyors belts? I would like more information on products regarding tyre shredding.
scott james (james bros bulk haulage), 10.11.2015 04:14
can i get one shredder to do everything
Tana Oy, 12.11.2015 10:57
Thank you for your interest towards our shredder which can shred any type of waste excluding concrete and steel. We will forward your inquiry to the closest Tana specialist to you who will go deeper to this with you. For that we need to know the country you are based in.
Jerre Heyer (Jerres Service / Dirt Works Organics), 17.03.2019 03:55
I would like to talk to someone about a Tana 440 unit in Erie, PA USA for a compost and recycling operation. We take in Brush, log chunks, grass, leaves, wood chips and Stumps and are downsizing for Compost material to mix with topsoil base to make an enriched topsoil and a garden blend compost.

Thank You 814-881-4093
Tana Marketing, 20.03.2019 13:40
Hello Jerre, Thank you for your interest in Tana Shark. You will be contacted shortly by the responsible of the US markets.

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