10 Myths About Paper Shredding

When it comes to cutting identity theft and protecting your sensitive information, it pays to know the facts. Paper Cuts has been providing Red Deer and Central Alberta with secure paper shredding and recycling solutions since 1993. Here is a list of 10 of the most common myths we hear regarding paper shredding and media destruction.

Shredding Myth #1 – No one will look through your trash.

YOu may be surprised to learn that there are many people who routinely go through company trash. Searching a dumpster for bottles is common practice,  but it may not cross your mind that your personal files may be sharing that same dumpster.

Even if no one goes dumpster diving for your personal information right on site, there is no guarantee that your information will stay in the bag while it is at the dump. A short field trip to any landfill will reveal just how much paper flies around in the open!

Shredding Myth #2 – It’s cheaper to buy a paper shredder.

Companies that sell paper shredders argue that it saves money to buy or lease a paper shredder. Shredding companies claim that their services save money. We’ve created a special page to answer this myth, and even included a free calculator to help you find the true costs of owning an office shredder.

Shredding Myth #3 -If we buy a shredder, our employees will use it.

Unfortunately, we see time and time again the following:

  1. The employee just has a single sheet to discard, so he rips it in half and tosses it in the garbage.
  2. The employee keeps a box of papers to be shredded under the desk for long periods of time, allowing it to build up. This alone becomes a security issue. Once the box gets too full, the employee realizes that it will take too much time or effort and simply tosses them in the trash. It is also very common for the cleaning staff to unwittingly empty these boxes into the trash.
  3. Because office shredders are noisy, the jobs get delayed and people must work around meetings and phone calls so as not to disturb.

Shredding Myth #4 – It’s better to keep all the records for as long as possible

It is surprising to hear how many companies store their documents until they go out of business. The government has set up laws to help businesses owners know how long to keep information in an attempt to find balance between usability while keeping identity theft down. Companies who do not follow the guidlines set by the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) risk leaving their employees’ and customers’ information sitting for too long, increasing the probability of identity theft. Even employees who no longer work for the company would be at risk if sensitive documents were not shredded and destroyed.

Shredding Myth #5 – We must shred our own documents to remain compliant with the law.

It is true that confidential documents must be destroyed, however it is not a requirement that the destruction be witnessed by an employee. Once your company has contracted someone reputable to shred your documents, they can shred them on site or remove them to a warehouse to be shredded.

Shredding Myth #6 – Recycling is just as legal as shredding.

At first thought, one might think that general recycling is just as effecting as shredding. After all, it destroys the lettering and turns it into something else. The problem with general recycling for your confidential information lies in the many hands that process it.

  1. General recycling bins are typically not lockable, leaving all the information available for whomever wants to go fishing for it.
  2. Most general recycling companies are not security screened. Their drivers could be people with past criminal records. General recycling companies are also not trained in security practices.
  3. General recycling is baled in a warehouse where all the paper is dumped onto the floor and then bailed. During this time it is easy for a worker to pick up a piece of paper and read it. There is little stopping the worker from keeping the paper.
  4. The baled paper is transported to a pulp plant where more hands sort though it, again increasing the chance of an unscrupulous person taking your secrets.

Shredding Myth #7 – Shredded paper cannot be recycled.

False. At Paper Cuts, all your paper is shredded right on site. The shredded material is then brought to the warehouse where it is baled and shipped to recycling plants. Just because the paper is in small pieces doesn’t mean that we can’t recycle it.

Shredding Myth #8 – We do not have enough paper to benefit from a service.

According to FaCSIA in their 2006-2007 sustainability report, the average employee uses between 10,000 and 20,000 pieces of paper a year. That means a company with just one person would fill a small sized bin or a console ever other month. Paper Cuts shreds for many small companies, even if they only fill a small bin once every two months. If your are a small company, chances are you are very busy. If you can save time AND money, that’s a plus. Using Paper Cuts’ shredding service can save you both time and money.

If you assign your shredding to an employee at $10/hr and he shreds only 5 minutes a day, the cost from labor will be about $16-$20 a month. Now add to that the price of a  $200 shredder with a life expectancy of 60 months (plus bags and oil). That works out to between $6 and $8 a month in shredder costs. So the cost of shredding your own works out to between $22-$28 per month. That doesn’t even include the cost of general recycling for the bagged shred – typically between $7-$10 for a large bag.

Shredding the same amount of paper with Paper Cuts will save you over 2 hours and cost about half the price. This example was with just a single employee. The savings in time and money for larger companies would be much more. Click here to compare the cost benefits of using a shredding service vs. using an office shredder. A free Shredding Cost Calculator is included.

Shredding Myth #9 – Office shredders are safe and easy.

Have you ever noticed the small symbols on a shredder? They cross out neckties, long hair, and usually a few other things. Not only can they attack your necktie, but many models have dust issues. When you shred with a professional shredding service such as PaperCuts, your papers are shredded in one of our shredding trucks. This removes the dust problem and eliminates any possible shredder accidents.

Shredding Myth #10 – Office shredders are more secure.

Most offices don’t realize how out of date their shredders are. Many shredders make strip sizes as large as 1/4″ wide! The problem with strip shredders is that they do a very poor job of destroying the content. The smaller the particle size, the more secure the shred. With an onsite shredding solution such as Paper Cuts, each piece is a different size and shape. This occurs because the paper is pummeled to bits and dust. As your documents are being destroyed, they are being mixed with literally tons of other bits of paper making it impossible to recover.

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