Can You Throw Away Pay Stubs

Can You Throw Away Pay Stubs? (How To Prevent Identity Theft)

You absolutely can throw away pay stubs. However, the question isn’t so much whether you can throw away pay stubs. It is more ‘should you be throwing away’ pay stubs? Let us explain.

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Pay stubs should never be thrown away. They almost always contain information about you and your bank account that you don’t want to fall into the hands of other people. The best way to get rid of them is to shred and then recycle them.

Where Can You Throw Away Pay Stubs?

Pay stubs are just paper. Well, at least they should be. This means that you can throw them away in your paper recycling without any issues.

We know that there are some places that will not have a collection for recycling. If you live in one of these places, then you could just fill up a bag with all of your paper recycling.

You can then take it to your local recycling center. Since paper is one of the most commonly recycled

Yes. You can put in your pay stubs with your standard trash. It will mean that it ends up in a landfill. However, paper isn’t going to have anywhere near the same effect on the environment as many other items so it isn’t going to be that much of a problem.

That being said, there are some places that will prohibit people from putting paper in their standard garbage bin. If you live there, then you may be ‘enjoying’ some rather substantial fines.

Long story short, always try to ensure that any pay stubs are put in recycling. It benefits the planet that way.

How Long Should We Keep Pay Stubs?

In general, pay stubs should be kept for 1 year. They can make filing your taxes easier and can also be used as proof of employment if someone needs you to prove that you have a job. After a year the usefulness of pay stubs drops off.

What Happens When Pay Stubs Are Recycled?

Just like all paper, the pay stubs will be pulped up in a big machine. This pulp can then be made into new recycled paper.

Obviously, the main benefit of recycling your pay stubs and other paper is the fact that the more recycled paper we have, the fewer trees will need to be cut down. Remember, this planet has a massive demand for paper. Countless trees are being cut down every single day to help fulfill this need.

When trees are cut down, it usually isn’t good for the environment. Remember, trees play a massive role in the air that we breathe. In addition to this, cutting down trees will destroy the habitats of animals.

Should You Throw Away Pay Stubs

If that wasn’t enough, it takes a huge number of resources to create paper from a freshly felled tree. All of this is going to be polluting the environment.

This is because trees will often not be felled in the places where the wood is processed or the paper manufactured. This means big heavy trees now need to be hauled around on large, polluting transport.

Sure, recycling paper is still going to add a bit of pollution to the environment. Ideally, we would come up with processes that reduced this further.

However, at least with recycling, the pollution is lower. This means that if you recycle your pay stubs, you will be doing far less damage to the environment.

Preparing Your Pay Stubs To Be Thrown Away

You shouldn’t really just be throwing your pay stubs away. You will need to do a small amount of preparation first.

You have to remember that pay stubs will have some of your personal information on them. There are people out there that will hunt through recycling and garbage cans to get this information. After all, stealing identities can lead to huge benefits, and having access to pay stubs is probably one of the simplest ways to steal somebody’s identity.

This means that before you recycle your pay stubs, you will need to run them through a shredder. Ideally, you would choose a shredder that is able to cut the pay stubs in multiple directions.

This will help to prevent people from being able to reassemble the pay stub and gain some information like that. Sure, it is rare.

Most people will probably not be going to the effort to reassemble shredded pay stubs to get some personal information. However, since you are shredding them properly, why not do that?

Shredded paper can be put into your normal recycling, so you don’t have to worry about that. You should try and get into the habit of shredding as many personal documents as you can.

What Will Stop You From Throwing Away Pay Stubs?

Now, the big question is when should you throw away your pay stubs? Well, it is suggested that you keep paystubs for at least a year after you receive them. There are several reasons for this.

First, it is going to make filing your tax return a whole lot easier. This is because you will have solid records of how much you have earned. This information can be vital for learning whether you need to pay more tax, or whether you are potentially due a tax refund.

A lot of companies will also use pay stubs as proof of employment. For example, if you are planning to apply for a loan, then the lender will need to know that you are going to be paying whatever you borrow back.

This means that they need proof of your income. What better way to prove your income than with a pay stub, right?

You can also check the pay stubs against the amount of cash your employer gives you. This way you can check that there are discrepancies between the two.

Of course, you could throw away your pay stubs earlier if you have some way to digitize your pay stubs. However, it may be difficult to apply for loans or prove your identity for other purposes if you do not have the originals, so do try to keep the originals if a loan application is on the cards for the future.


Recycling pay stubs is always going to be the best possible option when you are looking to get rid of pay stubs. Just make sure that you keep them for at least a year and then shred them before finally disposing of them. This will provide you with the best protection.