Why Shredding Your Confidential Documents is Better Than Burning Them

“The Camping Trip”

A person carrying a striped document box with an out of focus open vehicle in the background.Blaze: (unloading boxes from the trunk) This is going to be the best camping weekend we’ve ever had. When are the rest of the guys getting here?

Pete: In about an hour. You know we’re just here for the weekend, right? You didn’t need to bring that much wood.

Blaze: Pete my friend. This is not wood. This is brilliance. Packed tight in these boxes is three months of office files that need to be disposed of—and who’s going to have a burning inferno campfire at their disposal? Us!

Pete: You’re not going to burn that all at once, are you?

Blaze: Pete, Pete, Pete…of course not! Just one box at a time. What do you think I am, a pyro?

Pete: No, but your name is.

Blaze: Ha, ha. I see we have a comedian on site. As soon as we started planning this weekend, I started hanging on to these files so I could burn them instead of spending precious company money on shredding. You know how much I’m going to save on shredding costs?

Pete: I don’t know, twelve ninety-five?

Blaze: Good one, Pete. Seriously. We’ll save on firewood, too. I was going to burn these in my fireplace, but the last time I threw a pile of documents in there, the neighbor came pounding on my door saying he didn’t like burning embers coming out of my chimney and landing on his roof. He went on about creosote building up that could create a chimney or attic fire or something like that, too, yada yada yada…I don’t know what he was going on about, but I decided to avoid the complaining by bringing it out here in the wilderness where it’s safer.

Pete: But it’s not safer out here. Did you know that nearly 85 percent of wildland fires in the US are caused by humans, including people burning debris?

Blaze: Pete, this is not debris. It’s paper documents.

Pete: You know your clients’ personal information is on those, right? Aren’t you obligated to make sure that information is permanently destroyed? Well, have you ever tried to burn more than one page at a time? It doesn’t work that well. When there’s several pages together, the air can’t get in and ignite the paper. You end up with a pile of ashes plus unburned documents at risk of being seen or stolen by whoever finds it. That’s called a “data breach,” Blaze. You’re putting yourself and your company, clients, and staff at risk.

Blaze: Oh. My. Gosh. Pete, you’re starting to sound like my neighbor. I came out here to get away from him! The next thing you’re going to tell me is that burning paperwork isn’t environmentally friendly.

Pete: It’s not environmentally friendly. You’ve got folders, paperclips, and rubber bands still on there. That’s fine for shredding, but not for burning. In fact, there’s nothing good at all about burning confidential documents. And it’s so incredibly unprofessional. All the risks you’re taking by doing this could be far more costly than what you would have paid to have them shredded properly.

Remember the Great Smoky Mountains wildfire of 2016? It was one of the largest disasters in the history of Tennessee. Killed 14 people. Injured 190. Displaced 14,000 area residents, damaged or destroyed 2,000 buildings and burned up more than 10,000 acres of parkland. Do you really want to take that risk? If you do, you’re on your own because I’ll just head home.

Blaze: Okay, okay. Maybe you’re right. How about if I just put these back in the trunk and use firewood instead?

Pete: Great! And when we get back to civilization, please take those to a reputable, NAID AAA Certified shredding company and have them destroyed properly.

Blaze: Aw, Pete! Are you worried about me getting to sleep at night wondering if I’ve caused a data breach?

Pete: No, I’m worried about me getting to sleep at night. The thought of all the damage that could be caused by those files spending a few minutes in the flames has gotten me really worked up!

Blaze: Don’t worry, you’ve convinced me. Sometimes you can be a bit of a stick in the mud, but even I have to admit that you’re right this time.

Nashville’s Choice for Secure Shredding

Richards & Richards is the oldest shredding company in Nashville, and proudly NAID AAA Certified. If you want to sleep soundly knowing we have shredded your information using the highest security standards in the industry, while you’ve avoided data breaches and unintentional fires, simply give us a call at 615-242-9600 or complete the form on this page. We’re standing by to help!

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