Recycling Shredded Paper
Can You Recycle Shredded Paper?
How to Properly Recycle Shredded Paper
If you find yourself needing to shred paper, here are a few easy ways it can be recycled.
Recycling Shredded Paper
As concerns over the environment have increased over the past few years, businesses and residential communities have started more “going green” recycling campaigns to do their part. Just separate the paper from the plastics from the metals and throw them in a bin on the curb. However, it is not as easy as it may seem, especially when it comes to shredded paper. Here is everything you need to know about recycling shredded paper.
Can You Recycle Shredded Paper?
Shredded paper is still paper and therefore it can be recycled. However, where regular paper is fairly simple, shredded paper is complex. That’s right, if you take that sheet of looseleaf and tear it into bits, it suddenly becomes a hassle. Many recycling services refuse to accept shredded paper since it can ball up and clog the filters and machinery at sorting plants. In addition, shredding paper weakens the strength of the natural fibers, making it highly ineffective at being turned into new paper. We often think recycling paper is the easiest way to save the planet, since it has a 68% recycling rate, but it only makes a difference if it’s done correctly.
How to Properly Recycle Shredded Paper
So this begs the question: what should we do with our shredded paper? You presumably don’t want your identity stolen by a dumpster diver and your credit card statements are nobody’s business but your own. Well, one answer is fairly simple, but not completely obvious: Reduce your amount of shredding. If you just want to cover up one line from your bank statement, use a permanent marker to black it out and recycle the paper like you normally do. However, this may not always be possible, especially with large documents.
If you find yourself needing to shred paper, here are a few easy ways it can be recycled.
Separate the Shredded Paper Into a Bag
Check with your city’s waste management guidelines to ensure they will take shredded paper with your curbside pickup, as long as it’s in its own receptacle. Just be sure it’s not a plastic bag -- it’ll end up in a landfill, which defeats the purpose of your green efforts.
Check for Local Shredded Paper Pickup Services
Protocols may vary between cities and states, so be sure to check for services in your area. Some places have trucks that will get your shredded nuisance bits, though they may only do it by request.
Find a Shredding Event Near You
Many communities often host periodic free “shredding days” where the community can bring their scraps to machines specifically designed to handle shredded paper. If you have a safe place to store your documents, it can be well worth it to take advantage of these events.
Check Your Area for Local Drop-off Locations
Check your area for designated drop-off sites for shredded paper or waste management facilities that are willing to collect shredded paper. Sometimes this service may require a fee or limit how much paper you are allowed to bring in.
While recycling shredded paper may require a bit of extra effort, it is a great start towards “going green” and saving our planet. The protocol for recycling shredded paper may vary based on your location, so this list may not include all of your options. Check with your local waste management for more information.
Paper Shredding and Recycling with R4 Services
If you don’t want to have to worry about saving the planet, we’ll do it for you! R4 Services offers confidential, secure document destruction and disposal services. We do it for an array of different media types: tapes, disks, cartridges, x-rays, HDDs, monitors, film, and of course, paper. Check out our Destruction Services page and give us a call for more information.
“One day I may need this.” We have all had that thought cross our minds as we sift through bank statements, letters, and other important documentation deciding what should stay and what should go. But what is worth saving and what is better off in the shredder? The answer largely depends on the type of document and the amount of time that’s passed since the document was issued. Check out our tips for work and home to keep you organized and safe from identity theft.
Shredding Documents at Home
Tax audits and receipts, home sale, purchase, lease, or improvement documentation should be shredded after 6-7 years. Pay stubs, bank statements, medical bills, and records can be shredded after one year. Everything else, go ahead and shred. To keep your identity safe and secure, shred anything with your name, phone number, address on it, social security number, or banking information on it.
Shredding Documents at Work
It’s important for the safety of your business and your employees that you shred employee application forms, ID badges, and records when they leave the business, financial information, branded, damaged or faulty goods, as well as supplier records or information. Some paperwork is best kept for a few years before shredding such as budgets and purchase orders. Use your best judgment.
What Documents Should You Save?
Any physical copies of anything related to state or federal matters, including certifications, licenses, or deeds should be saved indefinitely. These are important forms of identification that are typically only valid in their original form and can be a lengthy process to replace.
Keeping any proof of warranty for the duration you own the warranted product is essential to ensure you receive proper service if the product breaks or malfunctions. A good rule of thumb is to keep anything that would be a hassle to replace causing you to sit on the phone with customer service for hours or go to a government office.
The same rules apply to work documents as personal documents. If the document is going to be hard to replace, keep it in a safe spot. There are a few extra documents you want to keep an eye out for like union agreements, procedure records, training manuals, bylaws, insurance records, accident reports, claims, legal and important correspondence, copyrights and trademarks, articles or incorporation, and actuarial reports.
Contact R4 for Additional Document Management and Shredding Services!
If you need any additional help with document management or shredding your old documents, contact us today! We can store your company’s important documents and provide you access to them whenever you need via the internet. We can also deliver your documents directly to your office or send them via fax, scan, and email. If you have documents you want to permanently dispose of, our convenient shred trucks serve the greater Chicagoland area and will drive right to your business.
What is a Document Retention Policy?
A document retention policy is a series of standard operating procedures that guide your business' handling, storage, and destruction of documents. So, how does a document retention policy (DRP) help your business? Well there are three main ways it helps your business, which range from operational benefits to legal safety.
A document retention policy provides your business with increased profitability and efficiency, safeguards for litigation, and helps your business maintain regulatory compliance. Let's take a close look at how a document retention policy provides each of these benefits.
A Document Retention Policy Can Increase Profitability and Efficiency
The procedures developed in your DRP will reduce the time spent handling and storing each document. Additionally, it will reduce document bloat within your organization. A document retention policy will help you determine and monitor who should have access to which documents and help you find the right documents quickly.
A Document Retention Policy Provides Legal Safeguards to Your Business
If a customer owes your business money or a contractor has failed to fulfill their obligations to you, having the proper documentation will give your business legal recourse and the means to prove it.
Similarly, if you are involved with legal proceedings with another business, you could be held liable if you're unable to produce the necessary documents due to destruction or misplacement.
A document retention policy will provide your business with procedures for how to store and destroy documents in a way that supports your business legally. A DRP can help you know when to suspend document destruction in case important files are shredded.
A DRP Helps Your Business Maintain Regulatory Compliance
Depending on your industry, you may be required to keep certain documents for a set period of time. For example, many businesses in the health field, such as hospitals, may be required to store or destroy documents in accordance with EPA regulations or HIPAA guidelines. Financial companies will want to keep their tax documents safely preserved for at least six years for auditing purposes.
Overall, a document retention policy will help your business identify the documents that need to be retained to maintain compliance for your industry. A well-planned and executed DRP can take the guesswork out of locating files and protect your business from legal and regulatory vulnerabilities.
How to Create a Document Retention Schedule for Your Business
Clearly, having a document retention policy in place provides an array of benefits to your business. But how do you make one? Well, to execute a successful document retention policy for your business, there are five key steps you should follow: selecting a document manager, identifying pertinent documents, determining which should be stored, creating a file organization system, and implementing a document destruction plan. Let's take a closer look at each of them.
Select a Document Manager
The first step is to select a person within your business to serve as the administrator of the document retention policy. This should be the person who will become the most familiar with your document retention policy. They should have the authority to implement it, teach other employees to follow it, and provide answers in any situation the policy doesn't cover.
Crucially, this person should be able to stop the destruction of documents when necessary, and quickly retrieve critical business documents.
What Kinds of Documents or Records do you Have or Use?
Next, it's important that your business take a close look at what kinds of files and documents they need to store. Each business will have documents they need to keep track of, such as employee records, tax documents, various receipts, and much more.
On top of that, each industry will have specific documents that need storage, protection, or destruction. We won't belabor the countless types of records this could be, from financial institutions' accounting records to law firms' deposition transcripts, but the important part is identifying the key kinds of documents and records your business needs to store.
Which Documents are you Required to Keep?
When you've identified the documents that your retention policy should be focused on, it's time to determine which documents you need to store or destroy. You'll want to know how long you need to keep a document for liability and compliance reasons, as well as to know when it will become nothing more than a burden on your file organization system.
This is also a good time to think about how your business stores and organizes files. You'll want to consider the following:
Finally, after a document has been held the designated amount of time, or holding it further has been determined to be unnecessary, there comes the time to destroy it. Documents should be rendered unreadable, so shredding is the best and most common method of document destruction.
Document destruction is equally as important to your DRP as storage, as your business could incur liability if you've held a document too long and it falls into the wrong hands. However, as document destruction becomes commonplace after you've implemented your document retention policy, it's crucial your DRP administrator is able to stop the presses and prevent documents from being shredded if you're in the litigation process.
R4 Services Can Help Keep Your Business Safe & Compliant
Developing a document retention policy is critical to enhancing your company's security, profitability and regulatory compliance. But it’s also important to review your records annually and decide what can stay, and what can be purged. Just be sure to invest in secure, confidential document shredding services to protect your company’s critical information.
Every organization will come to their own conclusion on the timing of document destruction. It’s important to weigh the risk factors and your litigation strategy, and make the right decision on the timing of purging your company’s records.
Need help with securely destroying your confidential information this year? Let R4 Services help you achieve compliance and reduce costs.
Data breaches and identity theft, once freak occurrences, have become commonplace in today's hyperconnected world. In 2021, the average data breach cost over $4 million. While many businesses have taken additional steps to protect their digital assets and liabilities, the same crucial attention is often forgotten for hard copies.
By simply placing confidential information in a recycling bin, you don't know who might find it. A single document falling into the wrong hands could spell disaster for your business. Securing and destroying files is critical for protecting your business.
How to Secure Documents
How can you ensure your business is taking the appropriate measures to secure the proper documents and files? A few techniques, such as the following, can ensure the security of your physical documents:
Finally, shred those documents that are obsolete or irrelevant. Outdated documents are nothing more than liabilities. But which documents are those?
What Documents Your Company Should be Shredding?
Understanding your documents can be major liabilities is the first step in protecting your livelihood, but what's often less clear to business owners is which documents you should be shredding.
Here are a few examples of items that your office should be shredding:
When Should Your Company be Shredding?
There's no one-size-fits-all answer here, as each business will have different needs: a hospital or medical service provider who sees a large number of clients might need to be shredding documents daily while a lawyer with a small practice might only need to shred documents on a monthly basis.
The important thing, however, is that you make document destruction a standard operating procedure. Additionally, contracting a National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) certified company to destroy your documents regularly can protect you from some liability, even if documents do end up in the wrong hands.
R4 Services Can Help Protect Your Business
Whether you're a medical service provider, a B2B business, or anything in between, R4 has simple shredding solutions that can take liabilities off your plate. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business, or check out our options for document destruction.
Prior to shredding your documents, make certain that you are not required to store and maintain records for a given time period. Consult with R4 Services or your governing entity.
Document shredding isn't just a great way to clear space -- it helps you stick to a document retention schedule, keeps you compliant with industry regulations and can help you avoid legal hot water. You've finally decided to make room in the office and destroy unneeded records. But some of them have sensitive information attached -- How does document shredding work in regards to sensitive information? R4 offers two types of document destruction: offsite and on-site. It's up to you to decide which best suits your needs.
No matter where the destruction takes place, the main takeaway is convenience. R4 will come to you to do one-time large purges. After you sort through your inventory and figure out what you don't need, simply order one of our shred trucks and we'll come to you. You can watch as we confidentially destroy your outdated materials right in your parking lot. It's fast, convenient and eliminates the need for you to travel distances with sensitive information.
There are two ways in which we'll conduct off-site document destruction for you. The first is leave-behind destruction bins. Order one or more (depending on the volume of information you need disposed) and we'll bring it to your facility. It will sit in your office and as you come across materials to shred, simply place them in the bin as if it were a waste basket. Periodically, our representatives will come to your office to collect the bins, securely dispose of their contents, and replace the bin. Think of it as a trash service for your most sensitive documents.
The other way is via wheeled destruction bins. They're perfect for one-time purges of low volume. Simply order them from our website, throw in what you don't need and we'll wheel it off to our warehouse -- worry-free.
After any type of document destruction, we'll issue a certificate of completion after the job is done.
Our facilities are equipped to deal with virtually any type of media:
So no matter what industry you work in, we can help purge your outdated records. R4 is dedicated to being reliable, resourceful, responsive and reasonable.
Contact us or call 773-843-3915 today to find out how we can relieve stress and save you time during your company’s move!
Other R4 services include:
Office Packing Services
Hard Drive Destruction
Document destruction is crucial to the efficiency and organization of your company. But not knowing when to toss out records leads to unnecessary hoarding and ultimately leads to disorganization. You don’t want to throw away something you could need in the near future, but do you really need those boxes of 10 year old pay stubs? Creating and maintaining a retention schedule will fix a lot of problems -- so how often should you destroy documents?
Well, the answer is: there’s not just one answer. It’s dependent on your industry, the type of document and its sensitivity. It’s crucial to consult your legal department as well as document destruction professionals like R4 Services in order to plan out an effective retention schedule. However, here we’ll go over some common document types and how long you should wait before disposing of them.
Documents that aren’t frequently renewed or that have to do with your business’ integrity are important to keep.
Throw out frequently renewed documentation. Note that it’s important to keep updated versions of the following.
Keeping documents too long or disposing of them too quickly can potentially both land you in legal hot water. It’s a bit of a balancing act and the key is to find the sweet spot right in the middle. R4 Services’ records experts will help your company develop a retention schedule that works best for you. Find out more about our services.
Purging documents that have aged past their retention dates is one of the smartest organizational moves you can make. It saves space and keeps you efficient and organized. Your instinct may be to hoard documents just in case, but it isn’t necessary and can even leave you open to legal issues. Once you’ve finally reconciled with yourself that you DON’T need that pile of 15 year old receipts, it’s time decide which is right for you -- on-site or off-site document destruction. They each have their benefits, which we’ll go over right here, it’s just a matter of practicality and your business’ needs.
“Take ‘em away, boys!”
Off-site document destruction is an easy, secure and low-effort way to regularly purge your sensitive and outdated documents. It’s perfect if you don’t have the space or time to have a large shredding truck parked outside your business, or if you have a steady but low-volume stream of paperwork that gets regularly disposed of. We actually offer a few off-site options:
Coming to You
On-site document destruction has many advantages, the main one being convenience. It’s great for one-time large purges of documents. If you have extra-sensitive material that you want to be SURE is destroyed, this is a great option. You’ll see it happen right in your parking lot -- it’s fast, immediate, and you’ll witness it firsthand. It eliminates the need to transport materials to a shredding facility and we’ll dispose of the destroyed material properly.
R4 Services is equipped to deal with either on-site or off-site document destruction services. We’re also prepared to destroy any type of media -- be it paper, hard drives, or even x-rays. To discuss your options and find out what’s right for you, get in touch today!
You may have a large pile of documents sitting around, whether it’s in your office or personal documents at home. The pile keeps growing and you just haven’t gotten around to sorting through it. You know it deserves your attention, and that most of it should be shredded, but you’re not exactly sure what can stay and what should go. Here’s your guide to document shredding.
What You Should Keep Forever
There are certain documents that you should keep physical copies of forever:
You can scan all of the above documents and keep digital copies of them, but overall, if there’s a document that you think is important to keep, then do so. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
What You Should Keep for Now
It’s a good idea to keep the most recent version of the following documents:
Anything business related should be discussed with legal personnel before you decide to shred it. If you’re in the professional services industry and get audited regularly, you want to be sure you have all the documents that you’ll need to pass the audit.
Your next step is to organize all the files you are keeping in labeled folders and store them securely in boxes or cabinets. From there, you can decide what can be safely shredded, which should be the remainder of your pile. When you’re ready to shred, let us know so that you can properly dispose of your confidential information!
In today’s digital age, confidential information is sent and received instantly, and on a daily basis. This means more data is accumulated, resurfaced and accessible than ever before. With so much data floating around, such as payroll records, business documents and customer information, properly shredding documents after they’re no longer needed is crucial to protecting the privacy of your employees and customers. Here’s why you should be committed to shredding sensitive documents and what you need to know to protect your customers:
1. Know your legal obligation.
Information security is under more rigorous legislation today than ever before. When you don’t comply with regulations of properly handling sensitive customer information, penalties may apply. You don’t just have a moral obligation to protect the information of your customers, but you also have a legal duty to securely handle customer data.
2. Protect your customers from identity theft.
Identity theft is a growing problem that all businesses should be aware of and have an action plan to prevent it. Shredding documents will ensure that information will never get in the wrong hands. Your customers and employees are counting on you to securely discard unused documents and protect them from identity theft.
3. Free up office space.
Shredding documents that you no longer need not only protects your customers and employees and meets your legal obligation, but it also frees up office space and helps you to get organized. Spending the time to go through your business documents and customer records will create extra space in your office to focus on other areas of your business.
You owe it to your customers to be responsible with the sensitive information. R4 Services assists clients with effective, secure and confidential document shredding. Ready to get serious about your record management? Visit our website to learn more about our document shredding services.
You have stacks of paperwork in your office that have been sitting there for months, years or even decades. Most of those documents are out of date or no longer needed. So why not just throw them out? Keep in mind that many of these documents could contain confidential information about your company or your clients. Identity theft is a real threat. Shredding your confidential information can ensure that it’s properly disposed and will help you avoid the threat of identity theft.
Depending on where you live, taking items from the trash could be legal. In states or cities where this is legal, once an item or document is left for trash, ownership of those items are lost. By shredding your important information, you can rest assured that identity thieves are unable to expose you to risks such as fraud, identity theft, harmful publicity, litigation or penalties.
It’s also a wise decision to destroy media that you no longer use, such as tapes of all sizes, disks, CDs, videotapes, cartridges, x-rays, hard drives, monitors and film.
Depending on your industry, document destruction could be (and likely is) the law. You are legally obligated to destroy documents that contain any personal information of your clients.
Additionally, you’re helping the environment by shredding. Your shredded paper can be recycled in several different ways, contributing to a global cause to improve the environment.
It's no secret that more and more information is being generated today. Whether this information be on paper, tape, or other media, properly managing it is critical to control costs, ensure efficiency and maintain compliance and confidentiality. R4 Services assists clients with the effective, secure and confidential management of their paper and non-paper destruction requirements. Visit our Shredding Services page to learn more!