What happens to the 10,000 sheets of copy paper that the average office worker uses every year?
While a lot of paper documents will get absorbed into the workplace, filed or put into document storage or elsewhere, many pages will likely get trashed on-the-spot because the information isn't useful or contains mistakes, etc.
But any workplace document that is no longer needed and contains personally identifiable information should be securely destroyed and then recycled. That’s why document security systems and environmental sustainability make good bedfellows – and smart business. Here’s why every workplace needs a policy that includes both.
- Compliance. Businesses have a legal obligation to protect private information and there are large fines, and even prison terms, for those who don’t. Privacy laws include the Gramm Leach Bliley Act, Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, and others.
- Reduces the risk of a data breach. If paper documents end up in recycling or garbage bins before they are shredded, there is an increased risk of that information being stolen and used in identity theft or other crimes. A reliable document destruction company provides a secure chain of custody from locked containers in the workplace to secure removal and shredding of documents. The company should use a cross-cut shredder and provide a certificate of destruction after every shred.
- Saves money – and reputation. The 2014 Cost of Data Breach Study shows that the average cost of a data breach to a company was $3.5 million in U.S. dollars; 15% more than the previous year. A data breach damages a company’s reputation and customer loyalty too.
- Reduces theft opportunities. Crime in the workplace is increasing. The State of the Industry Report 2013 shows that in 61% of reported crimes, the perpetrator worked for the company. Remove the temptation by partnering with a reliable shredding company. Implementing a shred-all policy and a clean desk policy can also be very effective in reducing the risk of theft.
- Saves trees. According to information security experts at Shred-it, two containers filled with paper for shredding and recycling saves one tree in the forest. The company provides every customer with an annual Environmental Certificate that shows how many trees their shredding program has saved.
- Reduces the amount of waste in landfill. According to The Atlantic, the world generated 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage in 2012, of which 17% was paper. If a workplace doesn't have secure document destruction and recycling programs – that includes locked bins for documents that are no longer needed and need to be shredded – employees may put documents into the garbage.
- Creates other environmental benefits. Recycling paper conserves natural resources, saves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and keeps landfill space free for other types of trash that can’t be recycled. Ask business partners about their sustainability practices too.
Learn more about document security and the environment.