While some residential and office shredders can handle staples, many cannot; industrial-strength shredders at specialized facilities can handle staples with no difficulty. The same rule of thumb applies to other common items, including paper clips, binders, envelopes, bound paper and spiral-bound notebooks.
Professional shredding companies, such as Residential Document Shredding Service and Sarasota Document Shredding, have industrial shredders. Their machines are either so powerful that staples are no problem, or they employ magnets that separate any metal out of the paper. They still have problems with plastic and X-rays, and "hard steel," such as a binder's metal rings. These companies can also shred items such as disks, tapes, CDs, film and pill bottles, but they require processing separately from that of the paper.