Don’t Drop Your Documents in the Blue Bin

Mar 17, 2023

An illustration of a large blue recycling bin on wheels is shown with a red "X" overlay.The Weakest Link

Suppose you were driving home and you swerved off the road to avoid a deer and got your car stuck in a ditch. You call a highly-recommended towing company and they bring their most powerful tow truck with four-wheel drive and a winch with a cable that can handle a vehicle of 5 tons or more. Your dilemma is about to be solved because the tools are more than robust enough to handle the job—that is until the tow truck operator hooks the winch cable to the bumper of your vehicle and rips the entire front bumper off of your vehicle instead of pulling it back onto the road.

What’s the moral of this story? The tow truck operator should have known that to do the job properly, the winch cable needed to be clipped to your car’s tow point, not the bumper. Despite having the right tools, the tow truck driver didn’t have the required knowledge to do the job.

Protecting Your Business

The same is true for your business. By law, you are responsible for any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) generated, stored, used, or discarded by your business. Your company may have the most secure system for protecting information while it is being stored and used, but if you or your staff are discarding documents into the blue recycling bin, you are at dire risk of a data breach that can severely damage your business reputation and leave you open to government fines and litigation. Even if you keep the information secure during its useful lifetime, the second it goes into that blue bin, everything could come undone. Here’s how:

  1. Internal Data Breach. While your documents are in the blue bin, they have no protection. It’s the same as leaving them accessible by the public. An employee or an outside service worker has free access to your private documents. Techjury indicates that US businesses encounter about 2,500 internal security breaches each day. Insider incidents have increased 44% over the past two years, and in 2022, the cost per insider threat was 15.38 million. You would like to trust your employees or hired service people who enter your premises, but internal breaches do happen and your business has equal potential as any.
  2. Dumpster Divers. Documents dumped in your recycling bin along with other recyclable materials are free for the taking. In many states, anything in a trash or recycling bin or dumpster for pickup becomes public property. Even if your local area prohibits dumpster diving, there’s no way to keep a thief from plucking out confidential information you are responsible for.
  3. Chain of Custody. Any hard copy or digital information you have generated or stored must be securely destroyed according to state and federal data privacy laws. Without a Certificate of Destruction issued by a professional shredding company, you have no proof that information has been securely destroyed. The blue bin doesn’t give you that.
  4. Recyclability. Many waste management services cannot take shredded paper in the recycling stream, so even if you take the chance of shredding it yourself without a Certificate of Destruction, it has to be bagged and placed in the trash. Not only is this damaging to the environment, it’s also an invitation to reconstruct your shredded papers since they are all there together. A second and more efficient option is to use the services of a professional shredding company that can securely destroy your documents and then recycle the shredded material upon completion.

Instead of DIY shredding that isn’t recyclable or tossing whole documents into the recycling bin, you can have the best of both worlds by working with a local, NAID AAA Certified shredding company. They can supply you with locked shred collection containers so you get the convenience of tossing documents in along with the security and auditable proof professional shredding can provide.

ShredPro Secure provides NAID AAA Certified mobile shredding services to businesses and residents of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Upon completion of your shredding project, we provide you with a Certificate of Destruction for your records. We even recycle 100% of our shredded paper. For more information or to book shredding service, call us at 865-986-5444 and our friendly shredding experts will take good care of you.

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