October 18, 2016

Why Secure Recycling Needs to be a Priority

Has your workplace put secure paper recycling in place?  

While paper recycling efforts have made an impact over the past several years from a business' environmental impact perspective, there’s still room for improvement when it comes to the security of the information being recycled.

Information security is now starting to play an all-important role in how we deal with paper. Most workplaces still have work to do and need to re-think the way they handle paper documents.

While blue box programs are well established, events such as the BDC Small Business Week in Canada, promote Clean Desk policies and other programs.

There are other steps workplaces must take to protect confidential information.

Here’s a look at how information security has improved the traditional document disposal process:

Document Creation

Traditional: The importance of reducing the amount of paper we use has lead to green strategies such as digitizing information if possible, and using printing on both sides of paper. But there is still a need to print out some documents. Once these documents are no longer required, the traditional mindset is to simply dispose of them.

Secure Recycling:  A security-minded workplace has a document management policy in place so that confidential information is protected from creation through to disposal. Requirements are based on compliance and privacy laws, and stipulate that confidential information is securely destroyed when it is no longer needed. In practice, this policy also informs employees about the importance of protecting information.


Traditional: Traditionally, paper products are put into open recycling bins that are placed around the workplace. These bins increase the risk of a security breach because documents can be seen and easily stolen by insider fraudsters and other criminals.

Secure Recycling: A document destruction partner installs locked consoles around the workplace and when confidential paper documents are no longer needed, employees deposit them into the consoles. Once paper is inside, it cannot be retrieved. A Shred-it all Policy is recommended so that employees do not decide what is or isn’t ‘confidential’, and all documents are earmarked for secure destruction when they are no longer needed.


Traditional: In the traditional process, blue boxes are dumped into larger open recycling bins, which are often left outside for municipal pickup. The information continues to be vulnerable to information thieves such as dumpster divers.

Secure Recycling: According to the company’s pick-up schedule, certified information security specialists come into the workplace and securely empty consoles and transport documents for secure shredding.  


Traditional: Paper products are transported to a recycling facility by truck, and information is exposed along the way. At the recycling facility, documents are sorted by un-vetted staff. While documents are eventually destroyed by a recycling process, there’s no guaranteed destruction time, and no proof of destruction.

Secure Recycling: A professional document destruction company has a secure shredding process that utilizes an industrial shredding machine. Then, shredded paper is bundled and sent to a paper mill for recycling. A Certificate of Destruction is provided after every shred.     

All businesses can reduce the risk of a data breach by implementing security best practices.