The next time you see a tree, consider the “shred-all, recycle all” best practices of secure document destruction. What many people don’t realize is that every time two shredding consoles provided by Shred-it are filled, organizations have saved one tree. Shred-it, a Canadian-based company providing secure information destruction, helps reduce companies’ negative environmental footprint while protecting customers’ (and subsequently their customers’) sensitive information.
Saving trees is among the many environmental advantages of secure information destruction. By shredding and recycling paper waste, experts estimate the company annually helps save 9.4 million trees, 3.6 billion gallons of water, 522,000 cubic metres of landfill space and 520,000 tonnes of paper recycled into various types of paper products. (Estimates are from Earth 911, Environmental Defence and Conservatree.)
Thinking green is not always on the minds of organizational decision-makers when they think about document destruction. Since the company’s inception in 1988, Shred-it has educated a broad range of organizations regarding how they can meet their information security, compliance, productivity and sustainability objectives with secure document destruction.
Organizations worldwide have embraced shred-all, shred regularly, shred at the source and shred before recycling policies and values. These principles create a tight security process for document destruction, ensuring a high information security environment and preventing human error or malice.
According to the Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus, security breaches come with a hefty estimated $2.5 billion a year price tag to Canadian consumers and businesses. To prevent these breaches, Shred-it recommends that all paper waste follow a secure process of going directly into locked security consoles specifically designated for shredding. Documents should be stored there securely until destroyed, at regular intervals, by professional, background-checked staff.
Document pieces should be recycled only after destruction, when they are transformed into unidentifiably small pieces — a critical measure that eliminates the potential for information theft. Shred-it’s policy is to not have any paper waste go to landfill, a best practice that all companies should adopt. After the documents are destroyed, the loose paper confetti is turned into a paper bale that’s sent to a paper mill for recycling into such items as paper towels, cardboard boxes and napkins.
As organizations develop their risk mitigation, environmental and procurement plans, they should remember that the advantages of secure document destruction span far beyond the environment. The primary benefit is the safeguarding of an organization’s reputation through protection against identity theft and fraud, risk of which is expected to increase in uncertain economic times. Office documents that enter the recycling stream without being securely destroyed beforehand can fall into the wrong hands at any point after they leave your organization’s premises.
J. Ryan Pryznyk is Vice President of Operations Strategy for Shred-it in Oakville, Ontario. Contact Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org