What Can and Can’t Go in a Shred Collection Container

Hand-drawn green circle with green checkmark and red circle with red X indicating yes and noBad Mixes

Some things should never go together. For instance, vinegar and bleach creates potentially-lethal chlorine gas. Grapefruit and medicine should not be mixed, otherwise the medicine won’t break down properly and will stay in your stomach. And don’t combine milk and Red Bull energy drink. (I know, who would mix those?) Trust me—you don’t want to do this.

In the same way, there are some things that that should never be added to your shred collection container.

Add These

Paper documents and files are what shred collection containers were meant for. If you’re not sure which documents to shred and which don’t need to be shredded, just play it safe and shred them all. By sending all of your documents to the shredder, you won’t ever worry that a confidential document made it off your premises intact.

Don’t Forget These

There are some documents that seem innocuous, but they contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and therefore, must be shredded:

  • Financial documents, including credit card invoices and statements.
  • Old passports and driver licenses.
  • Packaging or envelopes with your delivery address, which includes deliveries from places like Amazon.
  • Credit card offers, life insurance advertisements, and other offers.
  • Magazines, circulars, and junk mail with your name and address.

These are Okay Too

Folders, notebooks, newsprint, and soft-bound publications are perfectly fine to drop in the shred collection container as well, even if any of these have metal fasteners, rubber bands, staples, or paperclips.

Avoid These

  • Garbage sometimes gets dropped into office shred collection containers, usually by accident. Garbage cannot be shredded.
  • Recyclable items such as cardboard, plastic bags, and aluminum cans are not shreddable, but are sometimes confused with items that are. Both are headed to the recycling plant—eventually—but general recycling cannot, and should not, be shredded. Keep them separate by dropping general recyclables into the blue recycling bin and paper documents in the shred collection container.
  • Hard drives and other electronic storage media should also be shredded and recycled, but they must be kept separate from paper documents to avoid contaminating each other and damaging shredding machinery. Choose a company that offers hard drive and media destruction and shredding.
  • Unsold or unsaleable branded products, as well as unused sales and pricing sheets, uniforms and ID badges, and more also need to be properly destroyed so they aren’t used or resold by an unauthorized person. Branded products also should not be mixed with paper to be shredded. Contact a product destruction service to safely dispose of these products.

Educate your staff about these basic principles to keep your shred containers happy!

Richards & Richards is NAID AAA Certified and securely shreds documents, electronic media, and products for Nashville businesses and residents. We offer a variety of shred collection containers for our business shredding customers. For more information, call us at 615-242-9600 or complete the form on this page and one of our knowledgeable team members will be happy to assist you.

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