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What Can and Can’t Go in a Shred Collection Container

Biting the Bullet: A Business Story

Our business discards paper records with customer information on a daily basis. We tried shredding them ourselves, but realized that doing that takes far too much valuable time. Our security cameras have also shown people digging through our garbage and recycling at night and that made us a little wary of whether our paper shredder is adequately destroying our documents to make them impossible to read or reconstruct. I really hope no one is out there piecing together those documents to steal information!

Our boss, Liz, decided to “bite the bullet” and contacted a local shredding company to save us money, time, and the risk of a data breach by having them professionally shred our documents. She made all the arrangements with the shredding company herself, arranging for them to destroy our documents using on-site shredding on a recurring schedule. We weren’t sure what to expect when they arrived, but we were pleasantly surprised by what we didn’t know.

First Day of Service

When the shred truck arrived, a professional and courteous service representative named Joel came to the door pulling a large, wheeled container behind him. When I welcomed him in, he asked where we would like the shred collection containers placed. I was a bit surprised that Liz requested shred containers because we just use recycling bins.

Joel said, “These containers are a standard part of the shredding service. They’re locked for security and only authorized personnel have a key. They protect your documents from the time you discard them to when they are shredded on our truck. Discarded documents left in a recycling bin pose a major security risk of a data breach.” I was already impressed by the attention to security.

Joel noticed a cardboard box in our recycling bin. “Just as a heads up, you can’t put corrugated or cardboard into the shred container.”

“Oh, really? I thought cardboard was recyclable.”

“It is, but it shouldn’t be placed with paper destined for the shredder,” Joel replied. “Let me explain what can and can’t go into this shred collection container.”

Shred Confidential Documents

Joel continued to explain, “I would highly recommend that you follow a ‘shred everything’ policy with paper documents. That way, there’s no decision making required.” I already loved what I was hearing.

“By removing the need to make a decision about what must be shredded and what can be recycled without shredding, you prevent mistakes that lead to data breaches.” That made good sense.

“Anything from letters, official documents, receipts, credit card offers, and even junk mail should be tossed into the container,” Joel told me. “These documents carry sensitive information that can be used to steal someone’s identity and useful information. Don’t take the chance.”

What about Recycling?

By shredding anything paper, you can be sure the information gets destroyed, and also that the shredded paper will be pulped and recycled into new products. This saves so many resources, including precious trees, water, oil, and even prevents the unnecessary production of greenhouse gases required to make new paper.”

“I like that!” I said.

“Should we remove paperclips, rubber bands, and file folders from our documents?”

“Don’t waste your time,” Joel answered. “You had to do that with your DIY shredding machine, but our industrial shredders will chew up staples, paperclips, rubber bands, and even the paper duo tang folders with ease.”

At this point, I was thinking Liz had made a great decision having this company shred our documents.

“No garbage, cardboard, general recycling or electronics in the shred collection container.”

Joel stressed, “Garbage and non-paper recyclables like plastic and Styrofoam go into the appropriate waste management bins, but never in the shred collection bin. These items can’t be shredded or sent through our paper recycling process.

“What about electronic information?”

Joel replied, “Separate electronics, hard drives, and other electronic media from paper and set up a hard drive shredding service with us.”

Training Our Staff

After Joel had shredded our accumulation of documents, he told us that we would receive a Certificate of Destruction via email, then he was on his way.

I knew I needed to inform our staff of all that I had been told so that we were all following the same guidelines and allow our new shred collection containers to do their job keeping our information secure and our company compliant.

What can and can’t go into a shred collection container is straightforward and sensible, and the staff are all on board. After all, they hated crouching over the shredding machine, removing staples, paperclips, and anything else attached to the documents, then fighting with paper jams anyway—not to mention constantly emptying the shredding receptacle and sadly having to place the bags of shredded paper into the garbage because our waste management company can’t recycle DIY shredded paper.

We’re all happy now, dropping papers into the shred collection bins as we pass by and enjoying the clutter-free hallways without piles of boxes and files awaiting shredding to trip over. Oh, and in our quarterly financial review, we realized we were actually saving money by outsourcing our shredding! We were amazed to find out that the valuable time spent on shredding that could now be directed to core tasks was making us more efficient and profitable. Go figure!

Records Management Center offers one-time purge or regularly-scheduled on-site shredding, off-site shredding, and drop-off shred services to businesses and residents in Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, Aiken, SC, and the Central Savannah River Area. Our shred collection containers come in various sizes and styles based on your shredding needs, and we recycle 100% of the paper we shred. Call us at 706-724-7982 or complete the form on this page to talk with one of our friendly experts about your shredding needs.