Last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade made headlines for using confidential police documents as confetti. The shredded documents were found on the street and contained identifiable information about Nassau County police officers. Initially, the concern was that a 3rd party paper shredding company had sold the paper shred to be used as confetti. It was later discovered that an employee of the police department had brought the shredded paper to use as confetti. This raises an interesting question: Is shredding your paper enough to keep your confidential information safe?
The Importance of Properly Disposing Your Shredded Documents
This story and other’s like it help to highlight the importance of choosing a NAID AAA Certified paper shredding vendor. Confidential document destruction is not only paper shredding, but a process that begins with collection and ends with final disposition of the shredded material. All too often, shredding is the only focus. It is important to realize that, although shredding is an important step, it is not the only step. Once the paper is shredded, it must make its way to a mill for pulping and processing, not to a street corner in New York City.
Final disposition of the shredded paper is just as important as shredding. An AAA Certified document destruction company must dispose of shredded paper in a way that continues to provide the same protection as was applied prior to shredding. This involves a few rules that a non-NAID Certified company is not required follow. Shredded paper must not be sold for ‘as-is’ reuse (no hamster bedding or confetti.) There must be a documentation of the transfer of custody for the material, documentation that allows the material to be tracked from pick up to final disposition in order to ensure the security of your documents.
It is easy for a company to shred its own paper or hire an inexpensive recycling company to shred its paper, but you must ask; where does it go then? Is it safe? Are my documents really being shredded and disposed of in a responsible manner? Am I sure that I won’t be in the headlines because my shredded paper ended up as confetti in a parade?
When Shredding Alone is Not Enough
Bottom line is that document destruction is a process, not a singular activity. When choosing a company to keep your documents protected, you must ask yourself, “Do I have a complete document destruction PROCESS in place?”