How to Safely Destroy Documents Before Recycling

Brandon Harris

Brandon HarrisVice President of Smooth Solutions, Inc.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Safely disposing of confidential documents is critical to business success, and customer trust. It’s not always a simple of case of recycling the paper, sometimes additional measures need to be taken.

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Recycling is becoming an increasingly important part of document management for most companies – today’s consumers want the companies that they buy from to care about the environment and play their role in promoting sustainability, so businesses that want to achieve success can no longer ignore it.

However, even when a company has good intentions and wants to promote green initiatives, sometimes practical hurdles can get in the way.

A good example of this is the recycling of old documents. Most businesses likely produce a significant amount of paper waste, which needs to be recycled.

However, a lot of these documents contain sensitive information or customer data, and therefore must be destroyed before they can be thrown away.

This is where the main problem arises

A company cannot just throw away documents containing sensitive information into a recycling bin and be done with it – in the (however unlikely) event that even one piece of paper wouldn’t end up recycled, that information could get lost or fall into the wrong hands, which could cause irreversible damage to the company.

That’s why document shredding has been an integral part of document management for decades – properly shredding documents almost guarantees that no one will be able to recreate the contents and ensures that they can be disposed of safely.

However, not all recycling companies accept shredded documents, so how can you combine your green initiatives with safety measures such as shredding?

Well, here are a few things that you could do to ensure that your information remains safe while making it possible to recycle.

1. Sort your documents

The first step towards taking control of your document recycling is figuring out exactly how many documents you produce, and what percentage of them require shredding.

Many paper documents contain no sensitive information – in these cases, it may be wise to send them straight to the recycling companies, as it allows them to produce higher quality paper.

You should also develop a system that sorts and files the documents immediately after they are no longer in use – you don’t want old paper documents piling up on desks and in storage rooms because this encourages mistakes to be more likely to happen and will take much longer to sort once you are finally forced to address it.

2. Hire a professional document shredding company

If you want to receive a professional service that guarantees your documents are destroyed beyond the ability to reproduce valuable information, you should consider hiring a document destruction service that can take over the entire process and guarantee consistent results.

While this may seem like a pricier option initially, not having to worry about your documents or allocate resources and time to it each month allows you and your employees to focus on what matters, so in the end, you should view this as an investment rather than an expense.

A local shredding company likely knows the best recycling practices in your city, so you might be able to negotiate an arrangement where they not only handle your document shredding but also help with recycling as well.

In the end, when you hire a company that implements strict document management practices, you can be rest assured that no documents will be misplaced or fall into the wrong hands, which is something that’s always worth paying for.

3. Opt for on-site collection

If you’re worried about theft of your disposed documents, shredding can help reduce the chances of that happening, but sometimes you may want additional protection.

In that case, it makes sense to look for a recycling services provider that would come and collect the shredded documents from your office, ensuring that there is no chance for them to get lost or stolen.

This service may cost extra, but could be worth it, especially if you want to dispose of documents that are particularly sensitive.

If you’re considering hiring a shredding service provider they will likely be able to offer you a range of solutions that are designed to fit your individual needs – as one option, you could arrange for them to come to your site, shred the documents, and take them away.

It’s may even be possible to have them collect the documents from your site and then take them away, shredding the documents off-site and safely disposing of them in a recycling facility.

Whichever option you end up choosing, the most important thing is to work with a reputable paper shredding company that understands the importance of handling your sensitive documents with care and preventing any of them from getting lost or misplaced.

Author: Brandon Harris is the Vice President of Smooth Solutions, Inc., founded by his father, Michael Harris, who has been a pioneer in the document scanning industry for over 35 years. A leading document scanning company in Lodi, N.J., they are experts in providing document digitization services. They scan paper files, large format drawings, convert microfilm to digital, digitize books, etc. Prior to that, Brandon owned and operated a small bakery. Other than working to grow and improve his business, he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, and family.

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