Inside a Commercial Shredding Operation

Plant-Based Offsite Shredding Service Machine
What happens after your confidential documents are collected for destruction? Where do they go? How does the shredding process take place? Is it secure? In this article, we answer these questions and more by providing you with an inside look at a commercial shredding operation.

Collecting confidential documents

A professional shredding service should offer end-to-end protection for your business information at all times. Security begins with the use of shredding collection containers which are locked and placed within your office. Collection containers are designed to make it easy to drop whole files inside while restricting unauthorized access—essentially providing a secure holding area for discarded records which contain sensitive corporate and personal information. Collection containers come in either a 32-gallon capacity executive console style or a 96-gallon capacity security container style.

Handling and transport

First, depending on the amount of to-be-shredded files you anticipate collecting in a given time period, a customized shredding container collection schedule is put in place. Then, all material to be shredded is collected by a screened, uniformed document shredding technician. Executive consoles are unlocked by the technician, the full bag removed, secured and scanned for chain of custody tracking purposes. The full bag is then placed inside a 96 gallon security container and locked inside for transport to the secured vehicle. In the case of 96 gallon security containers, an empty bin is wheeled in and the full is scanned for chain of custody and then transported to the secured vehicle.

From the time a document is deposited into the collection container until all shredded material is recycled, all risks of unauthorized access should be eliminated. Distinctly different from an on-site mobile shredding service, a plant-based shredding service reduces the risk of documents being left unattended while waiting to be shredded. The destruction process does not take place in a highly visible area such as a business parking lot, and strict chain of custody procedures are followed at all times. The vehicle used to transport your documents to the shredding plant is equipped with the following security features, which the technician has been trained to use properly at all times:

  • Locks
  • Alarm system
  • GPS tracking

The shredding facility and process

The commercial paper shredding plant where your documents are destroyed is a highly secure facility. A gated access fence protects the building and property from intrusion. The entire operation features the following:

  • Monitored security cameras
  • Intrusion sensors
  • Audited access technology

In addition to the security measures mentioned above, an additional 17 audit points must be met for a shredding plant to become—and remain—National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) AAA Certified.

At the secure shredding plant, your documents are unloaded inside the facility in order to avoid being blown away by the wind. All records are then shredded into thin strips with industrial shredding equipment. A recording of the shredding process is stored for 90 days. Media assets are placed through specialized shredders to be sure they are destroyed to industry standards and hard drives are individually tracked via serial number before they are placed through a shredder designed to make all information on the drive irrecoverable.

Final steps

After your documents have been shredded, they are baled for transfer directly to a paper pulp recycling facility. Your paper is never sent to a middle man broker before reaching the paper pulp facility. This way chain of custody is maintained until the ink is removed from the paper. Once the entire process has been finalized, you receive a notarized Certificate of Destruction. This document can be used as verification of your legal and regulatory compliance.

Richards & Richards provides secure paper, media and hard drive shredding solutions to businesses throughout Nashville. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

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