June 03, 2024

The True Cost of DIY Paper Shredding

The traditional office is no longer the sole epicenter of our professional lives. Recent work statistics show that as of 2023, 28.2% of employees embrace a hybrid work model, while 12.7% work entirely from home. This shift has brought about a new challenge: managing the increase of professional and personal documents that accumulate in both traditional and home offices.

While a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to paper shredding may appear to be a straightforward and economical solution, it is fraught with hidden costs that extend beyond mere finances to encompass data security and privacy risks. In fact, the last year alone saw a surge in data breaches, with the average incident costing companies an unprecedented 4.45 million USD – a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities that come with insufficient data security practices. Furthermore, one million reports of identity theft were collected by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2023, underscoring the critical need for robust security measures in our evolving work/personal environments.

The Hidden Costs of DIY Paper Shredding

Whether shredding documents in an office or at home, you may think it’s easier and more cost-effective to handle your paper shredding needs on your own. However, there are additional risks and potential hidden costs with a DIY approach that should be considered. Some areas where hidden costs can emerge include:

  • Security Risks: If sensitive documents are not destroyed during disposal, the risk of theft and compliance violations rise. Standard home office shredders generally cut paper into vertical or horizontal strips, which can be easily reassembled. When paper is shredded in this manner and then thrown into a regular garbage or recycling bin, thieves can potentially recover and reconstruct documents to use for nefarious purposes, putting yourself or your company at risk. Individuals who fall victim to identity theft can end up paying on average $500 per incident.  
  • Productivity Losses: Every minute spent prepping and feeding paper through an office or home shredder is time not spent on other critical tasks. DIY shredding is a multistep process that requires time and resources. Since most generic shredders cannot accept anything but paper, individuals must spend time removing staples and paper clips and arranging documents into manageable piles. Individuals must also devote time to feeding paper into the machine, emptying waste bins, and addressing any spillage. Paper jams—which can be frequent in home and office shredders—can further slow productivity, costing even more.
  • Equipment Expenditure: In addition to costs associated with the human resources required for DIY shredding, there are expenses required to purchase, maintain, and repair equipment. Depending on the volume of paper you need to shred, these expenses can add up quickly.
  • Safety Concerns: Office and personal use shredders can present a safety risk. When not operated properly, serious injuries can occur, ranging from lacerations to finger amputations. If an employee is injured at work, there may be Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers’ compensation claims and other ramifications, which can have a significant impact on your business.

The Benefits of Using Professional Shredding Services

Rather than risk potential security breaches or identity theft, consider using professional shredding services – like Shred-it®– which offers a multitude of advantages that extend far beyond document disposal:

  • Comprehensive Data Protection: Professional shredding services help to ensure private information remains secure, reducing the risk of security breaches and identity theft.
  • Financial Safeguarding: By preventing information theft, professional shredding services help protect organizations and individuals from the financial losses associated with fraud.
  • Robust Information Security: These services ensure that all sensitive data, from corporate finances to personal bank statements, is completely irrecoverable once disposed of.
  • Streamlined Document Management: With professional shredding, you can effortlessly manage the overflow of confidential information, keeping only what is necessary and securely discarding the rest.
  • Deterrence of Data Thieves: Professional shredding turns sensitive documents into confetti-like pieces to prevent recovery of the information, deterring dumpster divers.
  • Eco-Friendly Disposal: Many professional shredding companies not only secure data but also contribute to environmental sustainability goals through responsible recycling practices.
  • Guaranteed Destruction: The use of industrial-grade cross-cut shredders by professional services ensures that documents are destroyed efficiently and thoroughly, giving you complete confidence in the security of your disposed information.

Enhanced Security and Peace of Mind with Shred-it®  

Using a certified document destruction service keeps data secure and provides a cost-effective solution. Here’s how Shred-it® helps ensure security and efficiency:

  • National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) AAA Certification: Stericycle’s Shred-it® services are NAID AAA certified, which means Stericycle is compliant with all known data protection laws. To receive the designation, we undergo scheduled and surprise audits, conducted by trained, accredited security professionals. This certification indicates that Shred-it® follows document destruction best practices and is compliant with all known data protection laws. Shred-it® uses industrial-grade, cross-cut shredders to transform paper documents into small, confetti-like pieces, which cannot be reconstructed, thus limiting the chances for theft.
  • Efficiency Boost: Instead of devoting time and attention to secure document destruction, staff can focus more time on tasks that bring revenue into your business.  Shred-it®’s security-trained personnel come to you to collect and shred documents either onsite or at a nearby facility at scheduled times.
  • Recycling: Shred-it®’s secure process effectively shreds documents into confetti-like pieces, bundles the pieces, and sends bales to a recycling facility, ensuring paper is recycled while reducing the risk of information compromise.
  • Electronic Disposal: Shred-it® can also securely pick up and destroy old hard drives providing comprehensive information destruction services.
  • Policy Templates: Policy protocols are tailored to meet an organization’s unique information security needs so employees at every level have a better understanding of the specific nuance at play.

Learn more about how a secure information destruction service like Shred-it® can help protect both company and personal data.