February 20, 2019
Why Commercial Paper Shredders Aren’t Good Enough
When you have documents that contain sensitive personal or business information, it’s important to protect the security of that information and prevent unauthorized access by shredding documents rather than throwing them into the garbage can or recycle bin.
The question is: is using a consumer-type paper shredder to shred your documents good enough?
The answer, unfortunately, is probably not.
Low-end paper shredders that you can buy in any office store typically use the strip shredding method to destroy documents, which cuts paper into long, narrow strips of paper. While using this method is certainly better than throwing documents away intact, it creates narrow, regular strips that can be reconstructed with time and patience, and can leave portions of information still visible. That means a strip-cut shredder does not offer foolproof (or criminal-proof) protection of the confidential information in your documents.
Higher-end office shredders use the cross-cut shredding method, which cuts documents both vertically and horizontally, resulting in small rectangular bits of paper that are much more difficult, though not impossible, to read or reconstruct. In a review of the highest-rated cross-cut shredder on Amazon, one reviewer wrote that “if you feed standard, horizontal ‘landscape’ reports into the shredder in a vertical ‘portrait’ way, the pieces are so long that you can clearly read complete numbers, account descriptions and codes, and names attached to specific accounts.”
In addition to the type of shredding they use, commercial or consumer paper shredders can also pose other problems.
- They waste your time. When you have a high volume of documents to shred, feeding them into a personal shredder a few pages at a time is time-consuming and tedious, and paper jams are common when you try to shred too many pages at once.
- The blades don’t stay sharp. After regular use, the blades on a consumer paper shredder will become dull, making shredding less effective.
- They can’t shred anything but paper. Many consumer shredders are not designed to shred anything other than paper, and to use them to shred labels, credit cards, paper-clipped or stapled documents, or other materials not only might not work, it could void the warranty.
- They’re messy. If you’ve used a personal shredder, you know that bits of paper get caught in the blades and have to be picked out, and transferring the shreds from the basket to a garbage bag almost always results in a shower of paper confetti on your floor.
- They create paper bits that can’t be recycled. With personal paper shredders, you can be secure or you can be environmentally friendly, but not both. The shreds created by a personal shredder aren’t accepted by most residential recycling programs, so all that paper goes right into the landfill.
- They break. Even the best consumer paper shredders sometimes just stop working. The top-rated paper shredder on Amazon has 11% one-star reviews, with reviewers claiming their shredders “died after a few months with no warning,” “broke after 100 pieces of paper,” or “clogged up and overheated after 5 batches of 5 sheets.”
- They don’t offer proof of compliance with privacy laws. If someone claims to have recovered information from documents that you disposed of improperly, you have no way of proving them wrong if you used a personal shredder.
So what’s the solution? Professional shredding from a reputable company like PROSHRED® Denver, which uses the most secure form of shredding, recycles all the paper it shreds, provides a Certificate of Destruction as evidence of your compliance, and comes right to your office to take care of all of your shredding requirements, which saves you time and improves office efficiency.