Shred vs. Recycle: You Can Do Both!

A countless number of decisions, ranging from the mundane to the complex, are made over the course of your workday. Each decision comes with unique factors to consider. And whether in your business or personal life, deciding what to do with your unwanted information is one of these decisions.

You know that recycling documents is good for the environment–and protecting the confidentiality of your records is equally important. But recycling can’t be all you do. It’s risky and may be illegal to recycle documents instead of shredding them. Fortunately, choosing whether to shred your documents or recycle them doesn’t have to be an “either/or” proposition.

Recycling benefits

According to Environment Canada, paper and paper products account for more than a third of Canada’s waste. Businesses are major contributor to this staggeringly high statistic. Even in the “digital age,” paper documents are still printed and distributed on a massive scale. Often, a single document is reproduced on paper multiple times.

Fortunately, office paper recycling programs have become quite common, and they are significantly reducing the amount of paper documents dumped in landfills. Studies have shown that recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, which conserves Canada’s forest resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Recycling risks

In Canada, provincial and federal laws require organizations to protect against unauthorized access to confidential information. Most corporate recycling programs don’t provide the enough information protection to meet these requirements. Paper documents tossed in recycling bins are accessible by many parties, including:

  • Employees
  • Cleaning crews
  • Maintenance staff
  • Recycling center staff
  • Identity thieves

So anytime a sensitive document is sent to a recycler whole, without first being destroyed, it increases the risk of your business falling victim to identity theft and business fraud.

In-house shredding issues

No matter how much you stress the importance of destroying sensitive paperwork to your staff, it’s an uphill battle when office paper shredders are involved. Shredding machines aren’t the most reliable and efficient solution for destroying documents. Staples and paper clips have to be removed. Each document has to be separated into easily shredded portions. Paper jams and other maintenance issues are common. And the shredding receptacle needs to be periodically emptied. In short, it’s easier to toss a confidential file in a convenient recycling bin rather than shred it.

Protecting privacy and the environment

A secure shredding and destruction program administered by a trusted provider helps your business protect the environment and its confidential information by making the process easy and affordable. Here’s how it works:

  • Locked, secure shredding consoles are placed in your office
  • Employees drop sensitive documents and files in the secure consoles, bypassing the tedious shredding process
  • A pickup schedule is customized specifically to your business’ paper shredding needs
  • On your scheduled service day, a screened shedding technician arrives at your location and gathers all documents collected in the shredding consoles
  • The shredding technician securely shreds all material on-site at your facility

After your documents have been shredded, you receive a Certificate of Destruction, providing a record of your organization’s compliance with privacy laws. All shredded material is then baled and transferred, using a strict chain of custody, to a secure facility for recycling.

Choosing whether to shred or recycle your documents seems simple enough. But the wrong decision can have lasting consequences for your company. Professional and secure shredding and destruction services support your environmental sustainability and privacy protection goals.

Shred Guard provides NAID AAA Certified information destruction and recycling solutions to businesses throughout Atlantic Canada. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

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