Securing The Future.

Confidential Document Shredding: Is It Sustainable?

Businesses that collect, handle, store and work with personal data have a legal responsibility to comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This means that when paper documents containing this information are no longer required, they should be securely destroyed. But with businesses striving to reduce their impact on the environment, what is the most sustainable way to do this? Paper shredding is the most widely used method of confidential waste disposal as, providing a GDPR-compliant shredding machine (or better still, a professional data shredding service) is used, and the security of the data is guaranteed. Let’s take a closer look at its environmental credentials.

What Does Paper Shredding Do For The Environment?

Paper is one of the most easily and widely recycled materials on the planet, and as a percentage of recycled paper is needed to make paper, it has been recycled for centuries. When paper is recycled it must be broken down mechanically as part of the process of converting it to pulp; this is essentially shredding on a massive scale. Shredding paper in small quantities through an office shredder is probably the least energy-efficient way to destroy confidential documents: even factoring in the carbon emissions of collection vehicles, using a secure confidential waste disposal service is a more environmentally-friendly option. However, according to a report released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), only an estimated 80% of the paper in the UK is being recycled. Of the 20% that is not, shredding breaks down the paper so that it decomposes more quickly in landfill sites.

Can Confidential Shredded Paper Be Recycled?

Yes, absolutely. Newspapers and paper or cardboard packaging contain a high percentage of low-grade recycled fibres that don’t yield good pulp, while the coatings and inks used on many other types of paper waste need to be removed from the pulp and disposed of. In contrast, the uncoated paper used for document printing yields a high-quality pulp that is perfect for recycling and as documents typically have a relatively low ink coverage, the proportion of ink sludge removed is comparatively low. More importantly, confidential documents processed by a secure data destruction services company will be shredded more energy-efficiently and 100% of the paper will be sent for recycling.

Is It More Sustainable To Use Data Shredding Services Near Me?

Companies looking online for a paper shredding service sometimes search for “document destruction near me”, “shredding companies near me” or “data shredding services near me”. Sustainability is often linked with buying locally to reduce carbon footprint, but while this may work for some purchases it may not be the case with a service such as confidential data destruction. Professional paper shredding companies must invest in powerful equipment that can cope reliably with the daily demands placed upon it. To ensure sufficient throughput of confidential waste, these companies will typically serve a wider area than other businesses and so for many clients, the actual shredding equipment will not be “near me”. If you have used one of the above “near me” searches and discovered that Avena Group isn’t physically located in your area, we aren’t being underhanded with you. We only advertise as being a “near me” service in areas where we regularly make collections and therefore our carbon footprint per customer is minimised. In fact, by becoming an Avena customer you can help reduce that carbon footprint even further! We have also pioneered our innovative SECURALL waste management system which means we only empty confidential data consoles once they are full (many shredding companies pay regular visits to half-empty bins), further reducing the carbon emissions per tonne of waste. Would you like to discuss how Avena Group can make your confidential document destruction more sustainable? Call us on 0845 5219 892 or contact our team via our website.

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