Green and secure document disposal services

So much for the move to a paperless society.

I run a business and while what I personally print a year would be less than a hundred pages and for my business overall, less than a ream of paper; the amount of stuff we receive is far more than that.

We’ve tried to move to paperless statements wherever we can, but some of the agencies and suppliers we deal with are still deeply rooted in the 20th century.

Many of these documents also need to be kept for a lengthy period due to taxation laws, but what to do then?

My Dad always told me never to put documents with personal information in the bin (or recycle bin), even if they are torn up. I’ve followed that rule for the most part as it makes good sense; but that means I’ve collected a ton of stuff.

I opened the cabinets where we store all this the other day and noticed that the shelves were severely bowing through the weight.

Time for action!

I could do what Dad used to do and burn it all – but that would be a little environmentally unfriendly in terms of carbon emissions and soot.

I could sit there and shred it all and then compost it; but my business would go broke in the process due to neglect :).

Then I remembered a company I used to work for hired special lockup bins where documents could be deposited, the bins picked up and the contents destroyed securely.

I decided to take a look into this option today and received a very pleasant surprise.

One company who got back to me said their bins (which look like heavy duty lockable wheelie bins) holds about 60 – 70kgs (130 – 150 pounds) of paper. We get the bins for two weeks or we call them when we’re ready for them to be removed. 

They’ll accept any grade of paper – white, colored, brochures, magazines, newspaper, check and deposit books. Certificates of Destruction are provided.

The contents of the security bins are shredded at their premises within hours of arrival at the company depot.

All sounds very good, but here’s the great aspect: all the shredded paper is recycled into tissue and toilet paper!

Problem solved! It’s kind of nice to know that in future, I could be using toilet paper made from letters from the tax department ;).

The cost for this service is around AU$45 per bin (around $40 USD), which is very reasonable I feel, and for businesses, it’s a tax deduction.

Secure document destruction services are available the world over, but are often fairly localized, so a good way to find them is to run a search on Google using the following terms.

secure document destruction (town)
secure document disposal (town)

.. where (town) is your region, town or suburb of course.

When you’ve found a few, contact them and ask what they do with documents – perhaps your paper waste can be used to benefit the environment, without the concern of identity theft.