Shredding: Doing it yourself might be doing you harm

business man with shredded tie

Copyright: 123rf, aberheide

On the surface, purchasing and regularly using a home shredder might seem like a sound investment. Having a shredder at home allows you to shred documents on your time, not to mention that most home shredders can fit under a desk, counter or table. But have you considered that DIY shredding can be riskier than it appears?

Here are some reasons why it’s better to leave shredding to the professionals:

Reason #1: Your time

Think about how much mail you receive each day, however seemingly relevant or not. Now let’s think about how much mail you’re receiving each week, month and year. Those pieces of junk mail, bills, medical records and more can quickly add up to a stockpile of paper clutter that’s taking up space in your home. Do you have the time to carve out each week to shred your personal information item by item? Having a scheduled shredding service come to you or available for a quick drop-off can save you the time it takes to slice through your stacks of paper piece by piece.

Reason #2: Improper disposal

You’ll notice that we mentioned the words “seemingly relevant” above. DIY shredding means that you have to constantly be cautious when deciding what to throw away and if you’re properly disposing of any items that could put your information at risk. Some items that you likely already know shouldn’t be tossed in the trash include bank statements and medical records.

But what about credit card offers, restaurant coupons or requests for donations? Do you know what’s safe to toss and what isn’t? You might be surprised at the information that can be gleaned from your garbage can and that it’s legal to do so if the receptacle is in a public area.

It’s not just what you throw away that impacts the safety of your information, it’s how you dispose of these items. As mentioned above, simply tossing your documents in the garbage or recycling bin can leave you at risk, but so can improperly shredded material. Home shredders that cut paper into strips can still be put back together into recognizable information and leave you at risk. You may opt to buy a home shredder that has cross-cut capabilities, but these also may not dice up documents in an unrecognizable way; not to mention the higher cost of more advanced home shredders.

Lastly, regular home shredders are not meant to cover a full range of information destruction needs. This can include papers that are held together with multiple staples or old electronic media like SD cards, CDs and hard drives. Tossing your old drives can put you at risk if not properly disposed; even pawning or trading them in doesn’t guarantee that your information will be wiped.

Reason #3: Potential for injury

Did you know that several injuries have been caused by home paper shredders? Children and pets alike have suffered injuries from home shredders, making them a potential a hazard to have in the home. In fact, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a report that details statistics from these multiple injuries, ranging anywhere from cuts to amputation of fingers.

Home paper shredding machines, as with any appliance, also pose a fire hazard if left plugged in and not under supervision. Home shredders often heat up when in use and can become a fire hazard in this manner as well.

It’s important to consider how you’re disposing of your personal information and be aware of the risks bringing a shredder into the home can have. Setting up a shredding service (which can give you tips for what you should be throwing away) or bringing your information in for a drop-off shredding service are both convenient ways that you can help protect your information and your home from potential injury from the inconveniences and hazards of shredding at home.

Reason #4: Environmental Impact

Waste haulers cannot guarantee that pre-shredded paper from your home shredder will be recycled. Various counties across the state are unable to separate pre-shredded paper from their sorting system, thus the material is sent to a landfill and will pile up along with other waste products. Our Complete Destruction program guarantees your paper will be shredded, recycled and then manufactured into post-consumer material like paper towels, bathroom tissue and Kleenex. Shred Right offers peace of mind and to reduce your waste footprint with our zero-landfill policies.

Contact Shred Right for all your information destruction needs and to reduce risks of DIY shredding, hassle-free.