How to Choose the Right Shredding Company for Your Business

Front view of a business woman sitting at her laptop but deep in thought and looking to her left while resting her chin in her left hand.Elena’s Story

Our company’s office staff have been asking management to consider outsourcing our shredding. They’re frustrated with the amount of valuable time they spend feeding, fixing, and unjamming the machine. There have been times when the shredder is out of order and documents with confidential information were being tossed in the recycle bin or garbage container. Ever since our employees have seen dumpster divers digging through our outside waste containers, they’ve been concerned that our in-house shredder might not be adequately destroying documents to a level where the paper can’t be read or reconstructed.

I had the same concerns, so I decided to find a shredding company that would meet all our needs. I did some research, asked around, and came up with an excellent list of questions to ask shredding companies to help determine which company would best fit our shredding needs.

Q: What shredding services do you offer?

A: Generally, companies offer one of two types of shredding services:

  • On-site shredding where the company sends a truck equipped with an industrial-strength shredder to our business where they would shred our documents on our property. With this type of service, all documents are shredded before the truck leaves the premises. Some shredding companies allow you to watch shredding take place on a video screen mounted to the outside of the truck, but I read that most customers don’t do that as they are busy with other tasks. One complaint about on-site shredding is that the truck is very noisy and can be a major distraction for employees working inside the building.
  • Off-site shredding where the company picks up documents and rolls them out to their secure, GPS-tracked truck in locked shred collection bins. Then the locked bins are transported to their secure shredding plant equipped with an industrial shredder. There, our shredded paper is combined with thousands of pounds of shredded paper from other sources, baled, and recycled into new paper products. Off-site shredding is highly secure, often more cost efficient than on-site shredding, and avoids the noise, space, and air pollution issues of on-site shredding.

Q: What are your security standards?

A: I learned that no matter what, our shredding provider should be NAID AAA Certified, ensuring they meet or exceed the highest security standards in the industry and use trained, background-screened shredding technicians who maintain a secure chain of custody throughout the process, from transport to destruction. To maintain AAA Certification, a shredding provider must pass unannounced audits that assess every area of their shredding operation, from compliance with state and federal data privacy laws such as HIPAA, GLBA, and FACTA to equipment, staff, and insurance coverage.

Q: Do you provide locked shred collection containers?

A: When you begin recurring scheduled shredding service, your shredding provider should help you determine how many and what type of shred collection containers your facility will need, and place them in the areas where they will be needed most, such as in busy office corridors, the copy room, and executive offices.

Whether you choose wheeled shred bins or executive consoles, they are locked in order to keep the contents secure until it’s time for shredding. Your shredding schedule should be tailored so it works best for your business.

Q: Do you recycle the paper you shred?

A: Green initiatives are important to our company, so working with a shredding provider that recycles their shredded paper is a must for us. Keeping paper out of the landfill and recycling it back into useful new products should be a no-brainer. A shredding company that promises to work with us in protecting our earth through recycling programs has added value.

Q: Do you shred more than just paper?

A: We have hard drives, SSDs, and other electronic devices that eventually become obsolete or break down and need replacing. Of course, with the massive amounts of information stored on these devices, they must be securely destroyed before they can be recycled.

Shockingly, I learned that deleting the files on these devices does not actually erase the data, and that having them physically destroyed is the only way to be sure the information they hold can never be recovered. It also means we can stay legally compliant by having all of our data destroyed, not just paper documents. A shredding company that is NAID AAA Certified for both paper shredding and hard drive shredding will save us the hassle of trying to find two secure shredding providers.

Q: Do you recycle electronics, too?

A: Even better than just shredding hard drives and SSDs is a shredding provider that also offers electronics recycling so the devices those drives are stored in, such as computer towers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and more, can be recycled, not just the drives themselves.

Q: Do I need to prepare my discarded documents before shredding?

A: A shredding company with state-of-the-art equipment can destroy staples, paperclips, and even file folders so you don’t have to remove them before shredding takes place. Now that saves a lot of trouble!

Richards & Richards is Nashville’s oldest NAID AAA Certified shredding company. We provide secure, off-site shredding services to business and residential customers. Choose from recurring scheduled shredding or one-time purge shredding services for your paper, hard drives, and electronics. Want more information? Give our friendly shredding experts a call at 615-242-9600 or complete the form on this page. We’re standing by to answer all your questions!

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