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Famous Hollywood Shredding Scenes, And Why Shredding Is So Important

Paperwork is piling up on your desk and in your draws; it’s old and unneeded but you haven’t gotten around to throwing it out yet. The recycling bin is overflowing with complete pages containing information – sensitive and otherwise. But no one seems to be shredding anything, at all. And from your desk, you realise that you don’t think you’ve ever seen a shredder.

 

So why is shredding your documents so important?

 

Picture The Wolf of Wall Street. Jordan, wearing a wire, talks to Donnie while they share a meal together. Jordan slips Donnie a note that says: “Don’t incriminate yourself, I’m wearing a wire.” Donnie falters but manages to not say anything that would cause an issue later on or get him arrested. But what happens to the note?

 

Well, if you’ve seen the film, you’ll know that Jordan is addressed the next morning, and the agents that pick him up have the note in-hand. Obviously, this implies that Donnie threw Jordan under the bus and snitched. This situation could have been avoided if Jordan had remembered to take the note away from Donnie and shred or burn it.

 

1997, The Devil’s Advocate. “You got a problem with documents? Put together one of your late-night shredding sessions.” We see a lot of Hollywood films and popular, modern TV shows that take place in the business industry – many of the more dramatic ones include scenes where someone is shredding something late at night. They do it quickly and quietly but are almost always caught.

 

If we move away from Hollywood movies for a moment and look at a couple of TV series that include shredding scenes, the first that may come to mind is Better Call Saul, which included a shredding scene in the second teaser trailer of a few fake licenses and a Police Report being shredded. Suits is another great example of why shredding your documents is important – given that there are entire episodes dedicated to why having a paper trail can be bad for business.

 

Of course, this is a little dramatized, because otherwise it wouldn’t make good TV! But on the other side of the TV screen, real businesses have paper trails. They have documents for their employees, invoices for clients, personal information tucked into draws, and company records stored on-site. When an employee can’t find a particular file, do they not panic when they realise it’s gone missing? Some documents can be replaced, but the ones that go missing are concerning, to say the least.

 

No matter the type of document, one thing is clear: Shred it. Not shredding your documents can lead to the downfall of you and/or your business. Documents always contain sensitive information; everything from photocopies of licenses to signed contracts. If one is lost or thrown away without being properly disposed of, it can lead to a lot of issues. The best thing to do is shred every document that you or your company are finished with. Keep a record of what is shredded, and how it is disposed of afterwards.

 

At Hungry Shredder, we work with business owners just like yours, helping them avoid these shredding scandals and possible problems. Businesses big and small have been caught out by forgetting to shred sensitive information – some have lost their customer’s data and had to close, and others have revealed criminal activity. Whatever your reasons, the message is clear – shred it, don’t store it. For more information, just get in touch with us today.

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3 Ways Shredding Helps Your Customers To Trust You

The way consumers buy from businesses is changing. Now it’s not always about what’s most convenient, or even what’s cheapest. It’s about what fits with their values, and provides the experience they need. But more than that, it’s about trust. We are in the era of ‘people buy people’, and consumers are gravitating more and more towards purchasing from brands that they trust. So if you want to grow your business, you need to be able to earn their trust. Shredding is a great way to do this, and we have 3 reasons why.

 

Security As A Foundation for Trust 

Data security is a fundamental essential for every business, regardless of industry or customer base. If a customer can’t trust a business to take care of their data, then they will never spend money with them. And if they demonstrate that they can’t handle that data, they will lose customers. Just look at the numbers of people who boycott big brands after a data breach is announced. So businesses need to be able to prove that they can handle, store and dispose of their customers’ data in a secure manner. Secure shredding services like ours are a perfect way to do this, with an easy to demonstrate procedure that increases trust.

 

Environmental Positivity 

Over 10,000 sheets of paper used by one single office worker in just one year are considered wasted paper. That’s a huge amount of paper, and no business trying to claim genuine corporate social responsibility (we’ll get to that in a minute) could allow this to end up in landfill. When it comes to environmental considerations, paper is one of those ‘easy wins’ to help reduce waste, increase recycling and improve the environment. Shredding paper contributes to a business’s green initiative, providing a simple and effective way to enable better recycling of waste paper and documents. Every business has a responsibility to ensure they have a minimal impact on the environment, and being able to show that you do this goes a long way to building consumer trust.

 

Demonstrate Genuine Corporate Social Responsibility

There are a lot of things businesses do today that fulfil the role of corporate responsibility, but are done simply to fill that role, and not to actually make a difference. But when you strip it back, corporate responsibility is all about conducting business in a way that’s ethical, taking account of issues that have an economic, social and environmental impact, as well as human rights. And over the last few years corporate responsibility has been thrust into the limelight, and customers are becoming savvier when it comes to businesses claiming corporate social responsibility, but providing little evidence of it. Given the importance of customer social responsibility to consumers, it’s important for businesses to find a genuine way to commit to it, and show it. Paper shredding is one of those ways. It’s a tangible process that produces the kind of real, quantifiable results that genuinely impress consumers.

 

At Hungry Shredder we see our job as helping businesses fulfil their corporate responsibilities in a simple and easy way. Our click and collect shredding and shred-on-site solutions are designed to be simple, fit seamlessly into your existing business systems and help you make real environmental change at the same time. For more information, just get in touch with us today.

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The Journey To Zero Waste Starts With Shredding

zero waste nightmare

If you’ve been on the internet, social media or even Netflix over the last few months, you’ve probably heard of the ‘zero waste’ movement. It’s both a philosophy and a strategy for living that aims to reduce the human production of rubbish – particularly plastics, palm oils and other things that are harmful to our environment.  Plastic straws are the current target, with consumers calling for businesses to stop supplying them, and instead switch to paper alternatives. And while you might think that this consumer movement doesn’t impact you as a business, think again. Because as customers become more loyal to businesses who use paper products over plastic, you will need to change, and that will result in more paper waste for your business to deal with. So today, we wanted to look at the impact of the zero waste movement on businesses, how you can commit to it yourself, and how to handle your paper waste.

 

Why Businesses Should Care

 

Business people are real system optimisers. They don’t like “waste” because it is the result of a system inefficiency. Not only “waste” costs businesses money, but it also symbolises bad design as a whole. As circular thinking is getting popular, leaders from around the world are realising the perfect alignment between the zero-waste philosophy and business performance. Even smaller changes in the supply chain can have a ripple effect that’s positive to the bottom line, all of which helps the business become more successful. Plus, the positive press and goodwill that is generated from the zero-waste, environmentally friendly stance has been shown to translate into increased sales and customer loyalty. So overall, going zero-waste makes good business sense. And it’s good for the environment too.

 

Mission Zero Waste

 

Achieving zero waste requires significant management commitment, because it can impact every facet of a business. From product design, choice of manufacturing processes, logistics and supply chain decisions as well as waste management and recycling considerations. The supply chain processes play a pivotal role in realising targets through developing more sustainable product management and recycling practices. So the first step is to analyse every part of your business to determine where the waste is being generated. This may result in you switching manufacturers or suppliers, or even choosing to take some things in-house that you were previously outsourcing. A major change will be to opt for paper or biodegradable materials in your business instead of plastic, which not only reduces the environmental impact your business will have, but also makes it easier for you to dispose of waste ethically.

 

Dealing With The Paper

 

The good thing about zero waste is that it significantly reduces the amount of plastic waste businesses produce. But that plastic has to be replaced with something, and for most businesses, the best alternative is paper. That leaves you with another problem – what do you do with all the paper?! Thankfully, this is an easy one to solve. If you’re in retail and using paper for things like food containers, coffee cups and so on, most suppliers will also offer a collection and recycle scheme as part of the service. So you can fill a box, bag or other container and have it collected to be recycled. You also have kerbside recycling options, if they exist for businesses in your area. But for all of the other paper waste your business is producing, you have shredding companies like us. We take all of your unneeded, waste paper, and feed it through our industrial shredding units. The resulting shreds are secure – so you don’t have to worry about losing data – and formed into huge bales. These are then sent off to recycling plants all over the country to be reused again and again, reducing the amount of new paper needed and cutting down significantly on plastic manufacturing too. And we don’t just take paper – we can also destroy and recycle hard drives, old products, even fabric and clothing!

 

At Hungry Shredder, we work with businesses across the UK who want to reduce the amount of waste they are producing and support the environment. Our secure shredding service is designed to give businesses two main advantages – an environmentally friendly way to dispose of their waste products, with the peace of mind of knowing they have been disposed of securely and safely, in line with government guidelines and GDPR. If you would like to know more about how we can help you dispose of your waste effectively, just get in touch with us today.

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Why You Need To Shred Paper To Be GDPR Compliant

With less than a month to go, GDPR is causing a huge wave of activity from business owners across the UK, and probably across the whole of Europe too. But while a lot of businesses are focussing their efforts of digital security, they are missing one very important component of the regulation – their paper-based data. Just because the world is moving into digital processing, doesn’t mean that paper-based risk has gone away completely, and it would be a costly mistake to make.

 

In fact, research from the ICO during 2016 revealed that 40% of UK data security incidents were attributed to paper. These included:

 

  • 19% – data being posted or faxed to the wrong recipient

 

 

  • 14% – paper being lost or stolen

 

 

  • 4% – data left in an insecure location

 

 

  • 3% – insecure disposal of paperwork

 

 

Since that study was done, a 20% increase in loss or theft of paperwork has been observed. So you see, when paperwork presents nearly 50% of the risk, why is it not receiving 50% of the attention? And how do you protect your business?

 

Why Do I Need To Shred? 

 

Simply put, shredding your paperwork is the single most secure way to dispose of it. Not only that, but it helps your business meet its GDPR requirements for data security by providing an effective and secure way of disposing of data, preventing access by third parties. After all, GDPR is concerned with how personal data is handled by businesses in both electronic and paper format. If you don’t have processes in place to protect the data you hold in hard copy, you are leaving yourself open to serious security risk, and potential fines from the EU regulator. This is because, under GDPR, you are liable if a data breach leads to an individual’s personal information being stolen.

 

One of the key components of data security is proper disposal of data – in any format. Unshredded documents can be read by anyone, so simply putting them in a bin or recycling bin isn’t going to cut it (see what we did there?). By shredding your documents once they have fulfilled their purpose, you are effectively destroying the information and preventing it from being read by third parties – fulfilling your obligations in one, simple action.

 

What If I’m Already Shredding?

 

If you’re thinking ‘well, I feed all my documents to the office shredder, so I’m, fine’ – you might want to check yourself first. You might still be at risk if your shredding practices aren’t at a high enough level to secure data completely. This is mainly because most office shredders are ‘strip cut’, which still poses a risk of breach through reconstruction (see our blog here for more info on that). Luckily, there are 3 main options business owners can use to ensure they are 100% compliant:

 

  • Cross-Cut Shredders – cross cut shredders significantly increase the security of your destruction simply by adding in another blade. This leaves documents in tiny shreds that are almost impossible to reconstruct – which is what you need for GDPR level security. Find out more about cross cut shredders in our article here.

 

 

 

  • Auto-feed Shredders – Because shredding is a time consuming and frankly, dull, task, one of the other big non-compliance issues is it simply not getting done. Auto-feed shredders remove the time-consuming element from the equation, since you just have to plonk a stack of documents on it and the machine will pull them through to shred. However, these machines are incredibly expensive and large, making them, a less than ideal solution.

 

 

 

  • Secure Paper Destruction Services – And then there’s secret option number 3 – get someone else to do it for you. If you’re struggling to find the time to get your shredding done, or you need large volumes dealt with regularly, then outsourced shredding is the solution for you. Simply have a secure console (like a tall, enclosed bin) installed in your office and drop papers in as you’re done with them – your shredding partner takes care of the rest.

 

 

 

At Hungry Shredder, we specialise in making paperwork destruction as painless as possible for your business. Our secure shredding service mean that collecting data (and keeping it safe during the process) has never been simpler and will be easy to adopt throughout the company. When your paperwork is collected, it’s shredded in one of our mobile shredding units, and you are provided with a data destruction certificate then and there – as proof that you’ve met your obligations under GDPR. For more information, just get in touch with us today.

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What Happens To Paper Once It’s Shredded?

paper-recycling

One of the most common questions we get asked is what happens to the paper once it has been shredded. Does it sit in a big pile to decompose? Does it get sent away somewhere else, or is it repurposed in some way? The answer is thankfully very simple, your old, unwanted to valuable documents are securely destroyed and then turned into something useful. The process for recycling paper isn’t particularly complicated, but it does take time and an awful lot of water. So what are we waiting, for, let’s dive in!

The Shredding

Your documents will arrive on our site either in a black bag to be shredded, or in the back of one of our lorries, pre shredded and ready to go. Any un-shredded paper will go through one of our varieties of shredder (from a basic cross cut up to a thorough hammer mill) until it is suitably destroyed. We will then house the shredded paper in one of our locations until the regular collection service arrives to take the paper away to a shredding facility.

Making Slurry

Once the paper has been shredded and we are confident it can’t be read or reconstructed, it is grouped into bales and sent to a recycling plant. There are some recycling plants that won’t accept pre-shredded paper as it can be difficult for them to sort, but most will take as much shredded paper as we can provide as long as it is contained. At these centres the paper is then separated into types and grades depending on its quality. Each selection of paper is then fed into a vat and washed thoroughly in soapy water. This is to remove any inks, plastic films, staples and glue, which are then filtered out. The wet paper is then poured into a large vat where it is mixed with even more water to form a slurry.

From Slurry To Paper

The slurry formed from the shredded paper is then separated out again into several different vats. Each vat has a different material added to it to create a different paper product such as cardboard, newspaper or office paper. Some newer users for paper slurry also include making bricks, fertiliser, paper timber for construction, fire logs and craftsman materials. Traditionally though, at a recycling plant paper slurry is used to make mass consumed paper products like magazines, newspapers and office paper. The slurry is then spread onto a conveyer using a set of large rollers and made into large, thin sheets. These sheets are left to dry before being rolled up ready to be curt and sent back off to the factories for printing and selling.

 Other Uses For Shredded Paper

Of course, you don’t have to send your shredded paper off to be recycled, you could recycle it at home yourself. You can do simple things like use it in place of bubble wrap and other packaging materials to keep your delicate items safe or use it for low cost animal bedding. You could also make your own paper slurry by mixing it with water in a food processor, and from here the possibilities get a bit more adventurous. You could mix it with soil for nutritious compost or use it for papier mâché of course, or you could build your own furniture or even a boat from it.

No matter what you choose to do with your paper, recycling it is an important part of the process. Shredding your paper ensures it can’t be reconstructed, but recycling your paper allows you to give something back to the environment and cut down on the destruction of forests. Paper can be reused an endless amount of times, which is why we strongly support paper recycling at Hungry Shredder. For more information on our green policies or just to talk about your shredding and recycling needs, get in touch with us today

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Home Documents –What Do I Need To Keep?

SFYRKERH4NLast month we talked a little bit about the piles of business paperwork we can accrue, and which documents you needed to keep and which you could throw away. To follow on that theme, we realised that paperwork doesn’t just pile up in a business. We all get piles of junk mail come through our letter box at home every day, from credit card applications, insurance documents or a financial report from that company you worked for 10 plus years ago. The trouble is that for a lot of people this all just piles up and results in a paperwork disaster. So this month we focus on the domestic side of what you should keep and what you should shred. Depending on what type of document you are dealing with they can be split into 3 categories, you need to store some of them for certain periods of time, others you can digitise, some you can throw away and others you need to keep forever.

Keep Your Physical Copies Forever 

  • Birth and death certificates
  • National insurance numbers
  • ID cards and passports
  • Marriage licenses
  • Divorce certificates
  • Business licenses (if applicable)
  • Insurance documents
  • Wills, living wills and powers of attorney
  • Vehicle titles and finance documents
  • House deeds and mortgage documents

As a general rule you want to keep anything that relates to a legal matter, including certifications, licenses or deeds. There are 2 reasons for this. The first is that you want to have easy access to them in case you need them for any reason, but they are also a nightmare to try and replace, often taking up a lot of time and money. If you’re not quite sure of what to do with these documents once you have gathered them together, we recommend putting together an ‘in case of emergency’ kit and keeping it in a safe, so that you always know where they are and that they are secure.

Storage Or Digitise

  • Tax records (keep for 7 years)
  • Pay slips & bank statements (keep for 1 year)
  • Property purchase, sale or improvement documentation (should be kept for at least 6 years after sale or purchase)
  • Medical records
  • Warranty documents (keep as long as you own the item)
  • Insurance policy statements
  • Pension plan statements and documents

This second set of documents need to be kept around for a while but not indefinitely. You can either store them in a segmented filing cabinet or scan and digitise them for you if that is what you prefer. Things like bank statements are usually available online, so as long as you have them recorded you can shred the paper versions or request that the bank stop sending them. A good rule of thumb is to think about how hard that document is to replace. If you need to stand in line at a government office or spend hours on the phone applying for a replacement, you should probably keep it. If you can easily pop online to see or download a copy, you probably don’t need a physical copy.

Shred It!

There is no need for a bullet point list here, because pretty much everything else can be safely shredded or thrown away. When deciding whether a piece of paper belongs in the bin or the shredder, check what is on it. If it contains personal information like your name, address, bank details or any other personal identifiers, it should be shredded for security reasons. This might include things you don’t even think about, like the receipts you find in pockets or when you’re emptying out your wallet, old airline tickets or paid bills. You should also shred expired personal documents like passports, driver’s licences or NI number cards as soon as you get replacements for them. Make sure you use a decent cross cut shredder for these, or bag them up and drop them into a collection centre to be shredded professionally.

Hopefully this post has helped you sort through the pile of paperwork at home and create some easy to find piles for your essential documents. If you aren’t sure whether a document should be shredded or if you aren’t able to shred a document yourself, get in touch with one of our advisors for your free consultation and shredding advice.

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How To Avoid Drowning In Paper

drowning-in-paperWhen you look around your office or home, what would you say is the one thing you don’t want to see? The one thing on your to-do list that you really wish would just disappear of it’s own accord one day? For most people, that one thing is the ‘paperwork’ pile. Whether it’s an overflowing in-tray, the bag waiting to be shredded or the stack of post under the coffee table, paper can sometimes feel like the bane of your existence, especially when you’re trying to find something. But when you finally get round to sitting down to sort it, how do you know what’s safe to keep and what should go, and how do you stop the pile regenerating in 3 months time?

Sort Your Important Documents

It goes without saying that there are some documents you just shouldn’t throw away. Things like birth certificates, marriage and divorce certificates, pension plan documents, passports, wills etc. All of these documents should be kept safe, which means not being shoved in a pile in the office with the old letters and bills. Invest in a small fire proof safe and make sure all of your important documents are stored inside. Your important documents should be anything valuable, irreplaceable or vitally important to you and your family in the event of emergency or death. As you go through your documents you will always know what is important with a capital I and belongs in the safe.

The Filing Drawer

There is usually a spot in every home or office that finds itself home to the ‘sort it later’ pile. This pile tends to be full of bills, official documents, letters and all sorts of other bits and pieces. Going through this pile is usually what stops people from actually sorting their paperwork, but once it’s done you can start working on ensuring it doesn’t come back again. The second stage after sorting your Important documents is to separate everything for the ‘filing’ drawer. This can be an actual filing drawer in your house or a folding box file, as long as it has several separate sections with labels. In this filing drawer you need sections for each type of document – for example, instead of ‘household’, you would have ‘water’, ‘electricity’, ‘gas’, ‘TV’ under which you would file all of your agreements, statements and any extra letters you need to keep. A section for ‘car’ for any vehicle documents or finance agreements is also useful, along with ‘home’ for your house deeds, mortgage statements etc. With this system you can easily file away new paperwork as soon as it arrives, and when you are on the phone to the water board and they ask for your most recent statement it’s really easy to find. It’s also useful having a section in there for payslips, tax information, receipts for valuable items like electronics or jewellery, medical information and insurance documents. All of these are important to keep, but can create one nasty looking pile if they aren’t organised.

The Shredding Pile

Once you’ve sorted out the important documents and the things you need to file, you should have a fairly thin pile. In this pile will be junk mail, monthly statements from phone suppliers, banks and credit cards, maybe some receipts, bank withdrawal or deposit slips and other miscellaneous paperwork. Most of this paperwork is only needed for a short amount of time, so once you’ve reconciled it it’s just taking up space. But that doesn’t mean you should just throw them in the bin. Anything with your (or anyone else’s) name, address, bank details or NI number should be put into a black bag labelled ‘shred’ and either put through your own shredder (which can be very time consuming and not as secure) or handed over to a professional shredding company for secure and thorough destruction. This avoids any attempts at fraud or identity theft that could be made using this information, and it’s one of the easiest steps in the process – just a phone call! There will be a few things, like product manuals for things you don’t own any more or scraps of paper with nothing but ‘call Lucy’ scribbled on them that can go straight on the bin, but just make sure there is nothing on those papers that you wouldn’t want a complete stranger to know.

Once you’ve tackled the pile of paperwork the first time and implemented these systems, you will never again find yourself drowning in paperwork. Anything that needs to be kept can be instantly filed away, and any other documents can be reconciled and then shredded. If you don’t own a shredder or can’t face the chore of getting it all done, we would be happy to help in your de-cluttering effort. Just get in touch today and find out how we can help you get rid of your pile of papers and help it stay down

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The Evolution Of Shredding As A Service

shredded paper

Last month we wrote a delightful blog post about the evolution of the shredder. If you haven’t read it yet, go ahead, we’ll wait here. Got it? Good. We started at the invention of the very first shredder and wound our way to the present day paper eating machines and all the variations that have come along since. But of course, some of those shredding models would be completely impractical to have in your home or office or have been designed specifically with commercial use in mind. That brings us quite nicely onto our next subject and something we know quite a bit about. The birth and evolution of shredding as a service.

The Birth Of Shredding As A Service

Shredding as a service may not have been around since the beginning, but it’s been around for much longer than you would think. The first shredding service emerged onto the scene in 1988, specialising in destroying paper documents for businesses in small quantities. They found themselves in high demand, as businesses didn’t want to spend hours bent over a shredder that could only take 5 pages at a time and push them out again at 2.5 metres per minute (that’s your standard £15-£20 office shredder). It’s hard work and it’s really inefficient – time is money after all. So instead one enterprising man decided to buy himself a big shredding machine and a warehouse and started destroying people’s documents for a small fee.

Since that moment shredding as a service exploded. Shredding warehouses sprung up like weeds and the demand kept coming for more. Not long after the shredding as a service system was first adopted, shredding companies started looking for ways to stand out from the crowd. Mobile shredding services were tested and eventually rolled out with their own unique equipment, and mobile shredding trucks started offering on-site shredding solutions. This meant businesses didn’t need to deliver their bags of paper to a warehouse to be destroyed; they could just bag it up and wait for the truck to visit. Automated retail kiosks were trailed to give the public access to industrial shredding capability, but while these were fairly popular in the US they didn’t take off in the UK.

Moving Into The Modern Age

 

Of course, in recent years there has been a big push towards the ‘paperless office’, attempting to get businesses to cut down on the paper they are generating or taking in, therefore reducing the environmental impact. We’re also seeing a generation of millennial emerging into the world, 34% of whom see data theft as a ‘victimless crime’, making high quality, easy to use shredding services all the more essential. But it’s not just paper that contains sensitive information that needs to be destroyed. Now we are seeing more and more professional shredding services incorporating digital or other methods of data destruction. Many are investing in new shredding machines that can tackle USB sticks, hard drives and even entire computers. With waves of cyber crime and high profile data thefts on the news every few weeks, media destruction is becoming a big part of the modern shredding service.

Today, 6 or 7 out of 10 medium to large sized business will use shredding as a service to keep up with their data destruction needs and we expect that number to increase over the next few years. Shredding within the office environment is often regarded as the job reserved when you’ve run out of other things to do, or a job reserved for the work experience kid. It’s time consuming, no one really wants to do it and why spend hours feeding a shredder when a professional service could have your entire pile destroyed in minutes. At Hungry Shredder we have a range of shredding services to suit your needs, all designed with security and simplicity in mind. To find out more, get in touch today and feed the hungry shredder.

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The Evolution Of The Shredder

Paper shredder

The office shredder is one of those things that many people consider as just office equipment. Yet this simple machine is what stands between many individuals and businesses and the possibility of identity fraud. The shredder has become an incredibly important element in office security for any business, but have you ever wondered how the humble paper shredder came to be?

The Birth of The Shredder

Before the invention of the paper shredder there was still a need to destroy paper, especially if it contained important or dangerous information. Because there was no other way to destroy the tough paper, these documents were often burnt. For example, during the Second World War governments burned all papers, books and documents that contained sensitive information. There are numerous accounts of soldiers burning documents that contained intelligence about their operations so that it could not be passed on to their enemies, and often books and papers were burnt as an act of barbarism or conquer. For a long time this was the only option for effectively destroying paper.

The idea for the very first paper shredder can be traced back to 1909, when Abbot Augustus Low filed for a patent on his invention, the ‘waste paper receptacle’, which was designed to improve the method of disposing of waste paper. However, Low’s invention was never actually manufactured – it was all just theory. The first physical shredder was invented and manufactured in Germany by Adolf Ehinger in 1935. He based his design on a hand pasta maker and he invented it as a way of destroying his anti-Nazi propaganda to avoid inquiries from the authorities. After the war, Ehinger was able to market and sell his shredders to government agencies and financial institutions who were looking to switch from the hand crank to electric motor as a way of destroying confidential documents. Government agencies soon deemed the use of strip-cut shredders essential for the destruction of important files.  In 1959 Ehinger’s company (EBA Maschinenfabrik) manufactured the first cross cut paper shredder, a system that the same company still produces to this day.

The Modern Shredding Solution

Until the mid 1980’s it was very rare for paper shredders to be used by anyone who wasn’t a government entity. It wasn’t until the US Supreme Court ruled that it wasn’t illegal to search and seize rubbish left for collection outside the home that paper shredders became popular with home users.  This came at a time when anti-burning advocates groups concerned about the environment were rising in popularity, along with the heightened awareness of identity theft and proper rubbish disposal. This resulted in thousands of home owners and private citizens rushing to get their own paper shredding machines at home.

Now of course, shredders have become a commonplace item, and there is more than one method available to us. Strip cut has begun to fall out of favour, criticised for it’s lack of security, and cross cut has become the most popular option for home users. For industrial shredders, there are also particle cutters (which shred paper to confetti sizes pieces), disintegrators, hammermills, piece-and-tear and grinders, all of which can reduce a piece of A4 to dust.

The humble office shredder has been around for over 80 years and it has undergone a series of evolutions to become the efficient machine we know today. But this is just part of the story. To find out how shredding has evolved from home to industrial shredding and given life to shredding as a service, stay tuned for next months’ blog. And remember, if you need some documents shredded for you, or would just like to know more about our shredding machines, get in touch today to find out more.