August 18, 2022

The Hidden Costs of DIY Paper Shredding

For companies that manage confidential consumer and employee data, secure paper document destruction can be a key part of helping to protect sensitive information and maintaining trust with stakeholders. In an effort to save budget, some business leaders choose to complete their paper shredding internally rather than using a secure document destruction service. However, the costs of a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to paper shredding can outweigh its benefits.

The Day-to-Day Costs of DIY Shredding

DIY paper shredding has a range of daily hidden costs that can affect a company’s bottom line, including:

  • Staffing: DIY shredding, although seemingly simple, is a multi-step, time-consuming process. Because many small-scale shredders cannot accept anything but paper, staff can be required to spend time removing staples and paper clips before hand-feeding paper into the machine. Staff may also spend time emptying waste bins and addressing any spillage. As a result, the staff of an average business will spend approximately 550 minutes a month shredding documents, costing on average more than $4,000 in employee wages a year. Moreover, the time spent prepping and feeding paper through an office shredder can distract staff from mission-critical tasks, which could cost companies money in productivity expenses.
  • Machine maintenance: If companies purchase their own shredding equipment, they may incur costs to maintain and repair it. Though office-scale shredders could cost only a couple hundred dollars initially, they can often break down or experience paper jams, especially if used frequently. Repair costs can add up quickly and may further contribute to reduced staff productivity.
  • Worker injury: Office shredders can present a worker safety risk if not operated properly. Employees can get their hands caught in shredding machines, which could result in serious injuries. If an employee is injured at work, businesses could face Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforcement, workers’ compensation claims, and other ramifications, which can have an impact on budget and even affect company culture and employee recruitment.

The High Cost of a Data Breach

The data security risks of a DIY paper shredding approach can have even more serious consequences for corporate budgets and operations than staff time and equipment maintenance. Many standard office shredders only cut paper into vertical or horizontal strips, which can be easily reassembled. When paper is shredded in this manner and disposed in a regular dumpster, data thieves can recover and reconstruct documents to steal confidential information, potentially resulting in an expensive data breach.

IBM’s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach report found that a data breach costs a business $4.24 million on average globally, 38% of which is lost business, including increased customer turnover, lost revenue due to system downtime, and the increasing cost of acquiring new business. Businesses can also suffer reputational damage after a data breach. As more consumers and employees prioritize data privacy and security, data breaches can weaken the relationship between businesses and their stakeholders, resulting in ongoing lost business, a lack of investment, and poor employee recruitment.

Secure Paper Shredding Could Deliver a Stronger ROI

Certified document destruction solutions like Shred-it® can provide an easier and more cost-effective paper shredding process for businesses. As a National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) AAA-certified document destruction service, Shred-it® follows document destruction best practices. Other benefits of using Shred-it’s® document destruction services include:

  • Secure chain of custody: Shred-it® uses a barcode scan at every touchpoint to track our complete chain of custody, and all Shred-it drivers have Certified Information Security Professional designations, which means they undergo rigorous training to learn how to protect confidential information. Shred-it® trucks are GPS tracked so we know where documents are located at all times. When the process is finished, every Shred-it®  customer receives a certificate of destruction. 
  • Cross-cut shredding: Shred-it® uses industrial-grade, cross-cut shredders to transform paper documents into small, confetti-like pieces, which cannot be reconstructed. This shredding method mitigates the risk of physical data theft.
  • Large volume management: Industrial-grade shredders can easily manage even the largest volumes of paper, potentially saving time and money for enterprise businesses. Additionally, Shred-it® equipment can handle staples and paper clips, so employees do not need to waste time removing them.
  • No equipment costs: Shred-it® equipment is owned, serviced, and maintained, so businesses do not have to pay equipment costs or risk staff injuries during maintenance or use.
  • Convenient scheduling: Trained personnel can collect and shred secure documents directly from business sites at any necessary frequency, freeing staff to focus on critical revenue-building tasks.
  • Specialty destruction: Unlike a DIY shredding approach, destruction service through Shred-it® can be used for non-paper items such as hard drives, old computers, I.D. badges, and X-rays.*

By using a certified shredding service like Shred-it®, businesses can streamline document destruction and potentially take some risk out of the equation. Learn more about the hidden costs of DIY shredding by downloading Shred-it’s® infographic and contact us for more information.

*Availability varies by market

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