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What Happens To Your Documents Once They Have Been Shredded?

Shredding is a fairly standard thing by now. Even if you don’t do it yourself, pretty much everyone knows what the shredding process is and why it’s done – particularly in a business setting. It’s a standard part of security and compliance, and help to make sure your sensitive data is always protected, It also makes it easy to dispose of your sensitive documents without taking scissors to them. But do you know what happens to your records once they have been shredded?

After Shredding

Once you give your documents over to a shredding professional (lime us), they are processed. This means they are mixed in with other documents (for added security) and put through an industrial shredder. These are much bigger and more efficient than your standard office shredder, and the result is small confetti like pieces of paper in a variety of shapes, depending on the type of shredder used. These pieces are so small that no information from the records can be read, and there is no hope of piecing it back together. This confetti like paper is then bundled up and taken to a recycling centre so that it can be put to a new use.

When the paper arrives at the recycling centre they are chemically treated. This means they will be washed with chemicals and treated water to remove the print and start the process of breaking down the paper. The mulch will then be cleansed of any impurities that might be in it by pressing it against a screen. Then, before the old paper is bonded and dried, any last bits of ink that might be clinging to the paper are washed away in a final rinse cycle. The last step is to convert the shredded paper (now resembling pulp) into new products, usually done by passing it through a series of pressure presses and rollers.

The Benefits Of Recycling

Of course, paper is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet, with a single piece of paper able to be recycled and reused at least 7 times. This means there are some considerable benefits to recycling used paper, including:

  • It takes only a couple of hours to turn obsolete paper waste into something new that can be used by consumers or businesses, without using any new materials
  • Some of the products that can be created with recycled paper include paper towels, writing paper and toilet rolls
  • You’ll see a significant reduction in your businesses’ carbon footprint, as waste paper that’s been recycled won’t end up in landfill
  • Improved social responsibility. By investing in a more streamlined disposal process that minimises the impact your business operations have on the natural world

Why Invest In Professional Shredding?

Simply put, using a professional shredding company is the only way you can ensure your old paper waste is properly recycled. By shredding inhouse and simply putting it all in a recycling bin, you can’t guarantee that your paper will actually be recycled and reused in a new batch of products. But if the environmental angle isn’t quite enough to convince you, then there is also the fact that professional shredding:

  • Protects your business information from competitors
  • Ensures your customer and employee data is safely destroyed
  • Meets all standards set out by GPDR and other data protection laws, keeping you in the clear
  • Improves social responsibility, as shredding is a much more environmentally friendly option, with an end result of recycling 99.9% of the time
  • Helps you dispose of bulk paperwork in a simple, efficient manner
  • Saves employee time – no more hours spent bent over the office shredder

In short, the most efficient way for your business to deal with obsolete documents or records is to use a professional shredding service. Not only does this ensure certain data protection standards are met (and you can prove it), but it significantly improves the green credentials at the same time. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with us today.

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Why Medical Records Are Important To Data Thieves

These days, anyone can sell just about anything on the internet. The deep web, the dark web, the black market; whatever name you’ve heard for it, in the recesses of the internet, it exists. It’s not a safe place to be, what with the lurking hackers and strange mystery items being sold and shipped across the world, but it plays a huge part in the market for medical records.

Healthcare facilities are often targeted because of the sheer number of patient files that can be harvested from their servers. Each patient has a paper file, of course, but in this digital age, many facilities are choosing to keep data on their computers for ease of access. This is where the issue lies. Healthcare facilities are chosen as targets for hackers so that this data can be collected and sold.

There are many reasons that someone would buy medical data. Hackers can sell several files for a lot of profit because they contain so much personal data. Think about it. Your medical file would have your name, date of birth, your address, and even a list of your medical conditions. If you’re on a repeat prescription, a hacker could easily find out what GP you’re with, which pharmacy you use, and collect your prescription while acting as you. Remember the last time you collected a pre-ordered prescription? They probably asked you to confirm your name and address. Data that your medical file would list.

As well as drug and substance abuse issues, the hacker would have also listed your address and all of your other personal details. Individuals who don’t visit their GP very often won’t realise that their data has been misused or stolen. There have been cases where healthcare users discover that their file has been stolen a long time after it happens. Unlike things like debit or credit card theft, there is no sure-fire way to report theft of medical data.

It’s not thought to be a common occurrence, and many don’t realise it happens until it’s too late. Ransomware is one major way that these hackers gain access to healthcare data. In the two years between 2014 and 2016, almost half of the data breaches in the UK were aimed at healthcare organisations.

What this means is that the healthcare industry was targeted more than any other industry. Medical records provide data thieves with more data to sell off to the highest bidder, and it’s safer to sell off too; because the likelihood of it being reported is much lower than financial data theft.

Medical records, depending on the information available, can be sold for anywhere between £15 and £1500 each. Just from the consequences alone, you can see exactly why this type of information needs to be protected better than it currently is. There are many methods that can be used to prevent the theft of medical information, and it starts by ensuring that the industry is aware of the problem.

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5 Ways To Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

Identity theft is never a nice thing to think about. Someone creating counterfeit documents about you, or misusing genuine identification and financial assets, like bank cards. Once someone has enough information about you to steal your identity, they can do all sorts of nefarious things with it, including commit financial fraud, travel undetected, fraudulently claim on insurance or benefits, and commit many more criminal activities in your name. Unfortunately, identity theft is becoming more and more common, with an average of 174,523 cases a year reported in the UK alone.

So, what can you do to protect yourself against identity theft?

Secure Your Important Documents

One of the best things you can do to protect your identity is to protect your personal documents. Keep identifying and sensitive documents like your passport, birth certificate and insurance information in a lockable unit, filing cabinet or container. Store the container away from windows and doors, and out of sight completely where you can. This applies to both businesses and individuals – locking away secure data is the best way to protect yourself.

Shred All Identifying Documents

There will also be plenty of times when you have identifying documents you no longer need to keep. When this happens, the best thing you can do is destroy them – securely. That means feeding them through a shredder! There are many documents that could put you at risk if they are not destroyed properly – from bank statements and old credit cards to expired photo IDs and even spam mail with your address on it. Destroying this data is the only way you can 100% guarantee the information is completely safe and cannot be stolen or misused. Even items including small bits of information like your date of birth need to be destroyed – as these can contribute to the wider puzzle about you that a criminal is trying to put together.

Only Shop On Secure Websites

When you shop online for yourself or on behalf of a company, try to make sure you are being smart about the data you give away and where you enter it. Only shop online on websites you know to be authentic and secure – look for the padlock icon in the search bar for confirmation on a site’s security, and if Google tells you a site isn’t safe – don’t use it! Alongside this, you should also make sure your antivirus software is up to date, and never shop online using a public WiFi connection, as these can be exploited to steal your data as it moves through the network.

Before Of Phishing Scams

Make sure you stay aware of what information you give away, especially if it’s to someone you don’t know. Phishing scams and telephone scams are on the rise, and scammers are getting much more sophisticated in their approach. Email phishing scams are a very traditional way of gathering your data, so make sure you are cautious with what information you give away and what emails you open. Similarly, be careful with what information you divulge on the phone. Never give out information to a provider who has called you – always ask to call them back on their official number so that you know the call is genuine. Many fraudsters will pose as an employee of a well-known business, and will try to keep you on the line instead of calling the genuine organisation back.

Destroy Unused Data Storage And Electronics

As technology progresses, a lot of our personal information is now stored on devices – computers, phones, hard drives and so on. This includes sensitive documents, passwords and delicate information that could be a goldmine for fraudsters and identity thieves. Once you are finished with a device, don’t be tempted to sell it on. Even once a device is wiped, the information can still be recovered using the right software and know-how. So, the best way to minimise the risk of this is to destroy the device.

At Hungry Shredder we specialise in helping individuals and business owners protect themselves against identity theft. We provide specialised on-site and remote shredding services, so you can be sure your data will never fall into the wrong hands. That includes things like hard drives and computers – which our machines can handle without a problem. If you would like to find out more, just get in touch with us today.

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1 Year On – A GDPR Review

Back on the 25th May, the European Union saw the first year of it’s General Data Protection Regulation come and go. This regulation has been one of the most vital changes in data privacy in the last ten years; changing the way that every single business handles personal data, among other things.

With the introduction of GDPR, many were confused. The regulation seemed difficult for many to fully understand, especially those who were not well-versed with personal data or the kinds of records that companies were legally able to keep. GDPR enabled the everyday member of the public to have a say in their personal data and refuse to give permission for any company to hold their details.

Understanding What GDPR Is

This subject has been covered time and time again, but for any that are still uncertain, we’d like to take some time to summarise what GDPR is. The regulation is complicated, that’s for sure, but it’s not impossible to understand. GDPR isn’t a complicated IT problem, and for individuals who have regained control of their data, it is the best thing to happen in a long time.

GDPR, or “General Data Protection Regulation”, is a regulation that purely protects and empowers EU citizens and their private data. Any EU citizen has the right to ask a company to delete their private and personal data, and they are legally required to do so.

The goal of GDPR is to ensure that any personal data is not misused – such as for things like cold calling. The regulation protects all EU citizens, even if the company is outside of the EU but holding the data of an EU person.

Businesses Have Struggled To Implement GDPR

Many organisations were not prepared for the new regulation to be put in place and were delayed in putting together the proper procedures to be compliant. There were a number of compliance issues in the early days of GDPR, and even now, not all businesses are fully compliant. A large amount of the organisations that are not compliant are in that state because they believe that the regulation does not apply to them. But it applies to everyone.

Lack Of Compliance Has Not Led To Overpowering Fines

One of the major worries of businesses around the world was that if they were found to not be compliant, they would be hit with a fine so large that they would go under. Small to medium businesses, in particular, seemed concerned. But most investigations have resulted in no such fine, rather, a chance to change.

The People Know Their Rights

GDPR has led to a plethora of people coming to fully understand their privacy and data rights. When you consider that the regulation was put in place to aid the people in their desire for more privacy, GDPR has more than done its job. The individuals of today know more than ever about their data and how that personal data is processed in the business world.

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Hungry Shredder raises over £700 for Walton Juniors FC

Fundraisers come in many forms, and last Saturday Walton Juniors FC provided the local community with a shredding service in return for donations.

Thanks to the Molesey based firm Hungry Shredder, over £700 was donated by local people and companies who visited the Xcel Sports Hub to have their documents shredded.

Walton Juniors Club Secretary Jo Scandella added, “We are very grateful for the support given by Hungry Shredder, who are helping the community through an innovative fundraiser. If you have any shredding requirement’s then please support this local firm”.


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Are You Taking An Unnecessary Risk With Your Documents?

It can be so easy to make a mistake with your documents and their safety. Documents often contain sensitive information that needs to be kept in a secure location, but most office workers forget this fact when they’re working with said documents. You could enter any local office and you’ll be able to spot a few issues straight away.

What Is A Sensitive Document?

A sensitive document can outline any document that contains information about you, your company or another business that your company is communicating with. This includes business partners and your own clientele.

Every office will have these types of documents. They’re an essential part of running a business, but paper copies can become a hassle if they aren’t properly managed. Minimising the risk that comes with keeping visible documents should be a primary concern.

How Your Documents Are At Risk

We don’t think about it while we’re working, but the documents that we use for our company on a day-to-day basis are crucial to our company’s success. They may list anything from personal information of a client to financial details, or even just have your own email and phone number on there (even just your work ones). No matter what information is displayed, we can guarantee that it’s sensitive in some way.

If you have documents lying on worktops or shoved into unlocked desk drawers, then you already have a document security issue. The matter of the fact is, when an employee is done for the night, the last thing they will think about is putting away a file they will need again the next day. Because of this action, which most of your employees will do, sensitive documents are left out for prying eyes to see.

There are, however, many simple and easy ways to keep your documents and your information safe without taking extreme measures. As always, there will be different solutions for different problems, but there is a solution; and that’s what’s important.

Set Up A Storage Policy

If you do decide to stick to the old ways of paper documents, then your company could greatly benefit from having a document management and storage policy. Any documents that are stored on-site should be stored in a secure location in the office, itself. This storage location should be complete with lockable file cabinets or a lockable cupboard. No one person – apart from trusted managers and supervisors – should have the keys for these areas.

That might seem like a lot of work, but surely having an employee spend a couple of moments asking for a key is better than having documents left out on a table for the world to peek at? If not a key, then a coded door would work, as well. It’s much harder to lose a code, and it can be easily changed if you think there’s an issue.

Of course, your other solution is just to go entirely paperless. This will take time, but just think about all of the space you’d free up around the office – and how much more accessible documents would be.

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Creating A Secure Work From Home Policy

Working remotely is one of the best things about being in a job where you can work from home on days where you’re not needed in the office. Of course, for the business that is enabling the “work from home” method into their practices, things aren’t quite as easy as they seem. A secure remote working policy is needed to ensure that your employees are as safe working at home as they are in the office.

Today’s technology is fantastic, and working from home is extremely popular with employees who spend long hours typing away in their offices. More modern employers are open to reaping the benefits of flexible working patterns and contracts, and are often more than happy to allow their employees a few days a home, as long as they get their duties completed just as well as they usually would.

A strong and secure work from home policy will minimise any risks that could come from having an employee work from home. These risks are quite specific to your own company, so the policy that works for one company may not work for yours. A bit of trial and error is usually needed for any policy, though, so it’s really nothing to worry about.

Risks depend on the data and information that your employee is working with. There are sometimes certain levels of access required to use particular areas of your company system, and it’s really up to you to decide whether or not you are happy to have these areas accessed outside of your company’s office setting. That’s not saying that your employees can’t work from home at all, just that you will need to decide what they can or can’t access remotely.

Many employers choose to give their employees company laptops to use when they’re working from home. These have better protection, more suited to business needs, and can keep your employee safe online while they’re working through the day for you.

You should clearly outline what your employee’s duties are if you’re allowing them to work from home. Working from home doesn’t need to be a huge deal, but there should be a certain amount of work you expect them to complete if they’re going to be away from the office for that day (or for a number of days). It’s unlikely that an employee is going to conduct themselves in the exact same manner at home as they would while in the office, but there’s a certain level of responsibility that still needs to be taken into account.

Furthermore, your employees should be clear on any expectations you have for them during their time at home. This includes how many hours you expect them to work – or, alternatively, a set amount of work they need to complete. Usually, this helps both you and your employee find a balance between working at home and how much they should be paid for that day, as well as what you expect from them.

At Hungry Shredder, we think working form home can be an amazing thing. For many people, working from home means they get more done, are happier within themselves, and perform better at daily tasks. But to do that, businesses need to make sure they are treating confidential data with care, and have policies in place to protect it. If you would like to find out more, then please get in touch with one of our team today, and we’ll be happy to share some advice.

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Understanding Your Paperwork Obligations

When it comes to running a business, nothing is ever simple. This goes double for your paperwork. Even though more businesses than ever are aiming for the ‘paperless’ goal, paperwork is still a huge pain point. There are a huge number of processes that need to be followed with paper, and many more industry specific rules. But there are some key regulations that govern how businesses manage paper, and you need to know what they are, and how you can stay compliant.


Companies House Filings


Of course, as a UK business, you have some basic obligations for paperwork with Companies House. These obligations are mainly around what you need to keep, and for how long. Every UK business is required to keep the following documents for 6 years:


  • Accounting records
  • Stock records
  • Details of goods bought and sold, including parties involved (unless you are running a retail business)
  • Financial records (such as receipts, petty cash books, delivery notes, copies of invoices, contracts, sales books)
  • Balance sheets
  • Profit & loss statements
  • Financial forecasts


Because these records are highly sensitive, businesses also need to stay on top of destroying these once that 6 year timer runs out. Otherwise, you are leaving your business open to identity theft and fines from Companies House. That’s where your shredding partner comes in – we help you destroy these documents securely and on time.


On top of that, you will need to keep a few bits of paperwork indefinitely, like:


  • Detailed record of the company
  • Results of any shareholder votes
  • Specifics of any company loans
  • Record of share purchases and sales


Data Protection

The Data Protection Act is the final authority in how your business should be handling data. You might think you don’t really handle data in paper form, but we can guarantee that you do. The Data Protection Act defines 2 types of data businesses can hold on people (customers, suppliers, employees and more).


  1. Personal Data –

    Data which relates to a living individual who can be identified from the data, or from the data and other information which is in possession of, or likely to come into the possession of the data controller; and it includes any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual.



  1. Sensitive Personal Data –

    Sensitive personal data is defined as personal data consisting of information relating to the data subject with regard to racial or ethnic origin; political opinions; religious beliefs or other beliefs or a similar nature; trade union membership; physical or mental health or condition; sexual life; the commission or alleged commission by the data subject of any offence; or any proceedings for any offence committed or alleged to have been committed by the data subject, the disposal or such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings.



That might all seem like a mouthful, but it basically means any data on an individual is covered by the Data Protection Act. So you are under obligation to keep this information secure, accurate and up to date. You must also ensure this data is not kept any longer than it is needed, and destroyed securely (with evidence) when it is no longer needed.



Of course, The UK Data Protection Act is living on borrowed time now. In May 2018, this act will be will be replaced by the EU regulation GDPR (which we have talked about before). Luckily, if you are compliant with the Data Protection Act you shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting your paperwork ready for GDPR. The main changes will be the ‘right to be forgotten’ and an intensified focus on privacy. This means you will need to ensure that you can easily find all paper records for individuals in order to destroy them, if requested. This on its own has lots of businesses scrambling to either redefine their filing systems ‘by person’, or to make the switch to paperless working. Either way, you need to be confident you can find everything you need if one of these right to be forgotten requests comes in. The second thing GDPR will affect in your paperwork obligations is privacy. You will need to analyse your processes and ensure that all data is kept secure and private. No one should be able to access documents if they aren’t authorised, and paperwork should all be destroyed properly and securely every time.


At Hungry Shredder, we help businesses get (and stay) compliant with their paperwork obligations by providing a secure method for document destruction. Our secure paper and hard drive shredding services ensure that your documentation is destroyed properly, and a full record is given of that destruction. That means you are not only meeting your privacy and destruction obligations, but you can prove it too. To find out more about what we do, get in touch with our team today.

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5 Paper Shredding Myths Busted

We talk a lot about paper shredding, particularly the facts around how it’s done and why you should do it. But we realise that there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there around paper shredding, whether that’s to do with the environment or people piecing together your documents in the dead of night. So today, as a bit of light-hearted relief, we bring you our 5 favourite paper shredding myths and explain exactly why they are myths and not facts.



  1. No One Will Look Through Your Rubbish


Many people think that the idea of some shady character rooting through your rubbish is saved for the movies, but unfortunately, it is inspired by real life. There are many people who routinely go through the rubbish left by a business – some because it is part of their job to handle it and others for nefarious reasons. For example, the cleaning staff whose job it is to empty the bins might be tempted to take private information. Once it’s in the main rubbish bin outside it may be rifled through by just about anyone, from homeless people looking for boxes to journalists looking for an easy data leak story. What’s more, some areas are known to utilise the homeless to collect personal and business information from rubbish bins – paying them to bring sensitive information for use in their identity theft scams. So while it might seem far-fetched, and it might never happen to you – never throw anything away that could cause problems if found by someone else.



  1. It’s Better To Keep Records For As Long As Possible, Instead Of Shred Them


You would be amazed by the number of businesses who hoard every single document until they go out of business despite the fact it’s just not needed. The government has set up guidelines and rules around how long business owners need to keep documentation, which is designed to lower the risk of identity theft as much as it is making the auditor’s job easier. If you leave your business-, employee- and customer-data lying in storage for too long, you are only increasing the probability of identity theft for those people. Even employees who no longer work for the company would be at risk if you kept their documents (like the copy of their passport you took upon employment) after the set time period.



  1. It’s Cheaper To Use An Office Shredder


While on the face of it this might make sense, it is actually much more cost effective for businesses of almost any size to outsource their shredding to a professional instead of doing it in house. You might think ‘but an office shredder only costs £30, how is a profession al service going to be cheaper than that?’, but listen up. It’s not just the cost of the actual shredder you need to consider. The biggest cost of in-house shredding is actually found in staff time. You pay your staff for their time to do a job, and I’m willing to bet that shredding isn’t in that job description. Again – it might not seem like much, but the average office worker will spend over 26 hours a year shredding paperwork in house. Now look at what you pay each staff member for 26 hours of their time and add it all together – it is unlikely to be cost effective. So every time you let your employees shred their own paperwork, you might as well shred some money with it.



  1. Recycling Is A Perfectly Legal Way To Dispose Of Paperwork


For any business owner, this is absolutely, categorically wrong. Under the Data Protection Act (and soon under GDPR as well), businesses have an obligation to ensure documentation is used fairly and lawfully, kept securely while it is used for its specific purpose and kept for no longer than necessary. It then goes on to say that businesses that hold and process sensitive data about any individual or company must take appropriate measures to ensure the safe and secure destruction of that data – and that’s where the crux of this problem is. Firstly recycling isn’t destruction, and secondly, it isn’t secure. So recycling paperwork is completely against the legislation on this one, whereas using a secure shredding service that can provide legal proof of your documents confidential destruction is right on the money.



  1. Owning A Shredder Shows That I Am Compliant


Wrong again. Simply owning a shredder or having one in your office isn’t good enough to prove to the government that you have been using it. We all know not every employee is going to shred, and privacy laws require rigorous proof of all compliance. The only way to ensure you are fully compliant is to maintain a record of shredding that is monitored and certified by a manager. But this is a very time-consuming endeavour, which is why many companies opt for an outsourced shredding company that can provide this documentation as part of the service.


At Hungry Shredder, we work with business to help them understand the whole shredding process, and how it will truly benefit your business. Not only is it a more cost effective, secure solution to your document destruction obligations, but it means you can relax in a stress-free environment, knowing that your data protection obligations are completely covered. For more information, or to book your first shredding session today, just get in touch with one of our team.

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The Paperless Office Myth

Over the past few decades many people have been shouting about the imminent arrival of the paperless office. But even the explosion of new Internet technologies which allow users to share, read and edit documents, we are still clinging to the notion that businesses need paper to function. We believe that the paperless office is a myth, with businesses preferring a paper-light instead of paperless work environment.


What Is The Paperless Office?


The idea of the paperless office has been around for a long time, with the earliest recorded thoughts on it dating back to the Seventies with information scientist Frederick Lancaster. With the knowledge we have about producing paper and its impact on the environment it’s not surprising that many businesses want to be able to operate a completely paper free office, transferring everything into a digital formats. But in reality SME’s want a paper-light rather than paperless office solution, because print still plays a vital part in business. In fact, a survey from 2014 found that paper usage was on the increase in most firms, with ¾ of all invoices that arrived in PDF form being printed, and almost half of paper documents being scanned being created digitally.


The Technology Is Out There


One of the common myths of the paperless office is that the technology isn’t ready to support it yet. This is actually far from true. The components of the paperless office are all readily available and are actually fairly inexpensive. You can convert your physical paper into digital documents, and thanks to the creation of new apps and workflow tools you can almost eliminate the need for printing anything new. Almost. In fact, tools like digital signatures and encryptions have the power to revolutionise the way businesses operate on a fundamental level. The problem is, the adoption rate of these technologies is still very low, with trust in an all-digital office still not fully established. When it comes to signing a document, most people are still more comfortable signing a physical piece of paper with a pen than typing their name into a box on a computer. This might sound like a simple fix, but in reality the thing holding the paperless office back isn’t the technology; it’s the people.


Setting Up Systems


If you are truly dedicated to reducing the paper within your business, the key is to have a system in place. Transforming how you handle active documents across your business, how you store it and how you destroy it is all part of the process. Offer a solution that combines ease of access with the benefits of secure storage and management and you will see dramatic reductions in unnecessary printing. Part of that process is installing a secure storage unit for your ‘inactive’ documents to be stored in to await destruction. This removes the paper from the office creating a cleaner and more productive environment, as well as ensuring your documents are secure. Tackling information as it enters the business and establishing defined channels for how it is handled should be the next part of your process, along with instating firm print guidelines.



If you are looking into the paper-light office route but don’t know where to start, then you need to bring in a professional. Making the decision to change the way your office is run can be difficult, and it may unearth other issues within your office that you hadn’t even considered. For more information, get in touch with us today for your free consultation.