Paper Destruction Methods
Though many individuals choose to burn their sensitive paper files at home in fire pits, this is not always the most feasible option. Safely burning paper in a fire pit or fireplace can be difficult and time-consuming, not to mention illegal in many areas.
In addition, burning materials can produce toxins that are harmful to the environment, can easily get dangerously out of control if you do not exercise caution, and can even leave legible pieces of paper behind.
Because of these reasons and more, this method of destroying large amounts of paper is not recommended as a safe or efficient way for companies to dispose of old office documents, either.
Similar to other unwanted organic materials, your unnecessary paper files can be added to your backyard compost pile to help create nutrient-rich soil for your plants. Though this approach is environmentally friendly, it takes 4 to 6 weeks for paper to decompose into soil.
To achieve this, the paper must also be broken down into smaller pieces and carefully distributed throughout the soil to ensure that the delicate balance of the nutrients is not upset in any way. If you have a large amount of documents to destroy, it could disrupt the balance even more.
You also must remember that not all paper types are suitable for composting. Items with coatings or other non-paper materials could be harmful to your compost pile.
Throwing in the Trash
Possibly the riskiest way to dispose of your outdated paperwork is to throw it directly into the trash. When you discard your documents without taking any prior precautions, all of your private information contained in those documents is free for the taking. This means that any person who stumbles across your files has everything they need to steal your identity or the identities of your staff and your clients.
Overall, even though throwing your files into the dumpster is one of the easiest ways to get rid of the paperwork piling up in your home or office, it has a massive potential to cause many more problems in the future. Breaches of patient and client confidentiality through negligent document disposal can carry hefty fines in many cases.
Shredding by Hand
Many individuals prefer to tear their documents into small pieces by hand before throwing them away or even utilize small home or office shredding machines to create strip-cut pieces of paper. Not only is this method of document destruction tedious, but it is also very dangerous when it comes to your data. As you may be aware, unauthorized individuals can easily piece together these paper shreds to gain access to your private information. This opens up the door for identity theft, fraud, and other data breaches.
Also, when you are dealing with a large volume of paperwork, this method takes an inordinate amount of time to destroy the documents by hand.