Common Misconceptions about Shredding

Pensive young man thinking and looking up against blue background There’s been no shortage of news about misinformation lately, but the concept of being misinformed is nothing new, even to children. Do you remember believing that if swallowed, it takes seven years for chewing gum to digest in your stomach? That inaccuracy was likely our parents’ attempt to prevent us from getting stomach aches. Were you ever told that sitting too close to the TV would damage your eyes? I think that was an easier way of saying, don’t block everyone’s view. Did you know that fortune cookies are not Chinese? Their origin is actually Japan.

In the same way we’ve held on to mistaken beliefs about random things, many of us also have misconceptions about document shredding. Here are a few common ones, along with an explanation of why they aren’t true.

1. Not all businesses are required to destroy sensitive information.

Every single organization that stores and uses Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is responsible to not only protect that information, but to also destroy it at the end of its useful life. Regardless of whether you have one employee or 1000 employees, if you work from your home or in a high-rise building, the law includes you.

2. Privacy laws require you to shred your sensitive information.

You are required to destroy all documents containing sensitive information, however, shredding is not the only acceptable way to do so. Privacy laws allow a variety of destruction methods, as long as documents cannot be read or reconstructed after they are destroyed. Of the options available to destroy your information, shredding is considered the best and most effective choice.

3. Storing documents indefinitely avoids the requirement to shred.

State and federal privacy laws stipulate retention periods for all documents with sensitive information. Different businesses and documents will have their own unique retention periods that must be followed. If you hold on to private information beyond the required retention period, you risk a security breach if that information falls into the wrong hands. Shred by retention dates so your business remains compliant with all privacy laws.

4. DIY shredding is cheaper than paying a shredding company to do the work.

When you choose a professional and reputable shredding company to shred your documents, it is more cost effective than doing it yourself. Why does DIY shredding cost more?

  • The original cost, repairs, and replacements of shredding machines for each work area of your business add up quickly.
  • Time spent operating the shredder by staff members; feeding a few pages at a time, unjamming it, emptying the shred bin and waiting for it to cool down after every 5-10 minutes of shredding.
  • The risk that your shredding machine is not capable of destroying your documents so they are unreadable or able to be reconstructed could result in them being stolen and used for illegal and costly purposes. If this happens, it could result in monetary fines, legal action, and a damaged reputation.
  • The inability to effectively recycle your shredded paper. DIY shredded paper often cannot be accepted into the standard recycling stream. Instead, it goes directly into the trash and cannot be recycled into new products. The environmental investment alone is worth using a professional shredding company to destroy your documents.

5. A Certificate of Destruction isn’t all that important.

A Certificate of Destruction might not be available through some shredding companies and definitely isn’t available if you choose to shred your own documents. A certificate proves that you have adhered to privacy laws in the proper destruction of your documents. It also provides written documentation of the transfer of your paper into the hands of a reputable shredding company, proving your compliance if there is a future legal or audit inquiry. A Certificate of Destruction isn’t a luxury, but rather a necessity.

6. It is difficult to find a reputable professional shredding company in Nashville.

Richards and Richards, a NAID AAA Certified shredding company, has been operating in Nashville for decades. Our NAID AAA certification means we provide the highest of security standards and legal compliance for your shredding needs. Give us a call at 615-242-9600 or complete the form on this page so we can provide you with professional shredding services.

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