Paper shredder or recycling service?

General paper can go in the recycling, but don't risk it with anything sensitive like names, addresses, birthdates and tax file numbers. A personal data breach could lead to identity fraud. A workplace data breach might destroy your business, particularly given the new Notifiable Data Breach Scheme.

Which works better - a paper shredder or a service?

Products - paper shredders
There are many places you can buy a paper shredder - OfficeWorks, Bunnings, The Good Guys, Harvey Norman and more. How do you choose?

At the time of writing, over a hundred paper shredders were listed at these outlets. While the range was good, prices were high - from $21.99 to a whopping $5,000.

Do these shredders work?

Choice magazine says 'for good security, aim for level three and above'. Many of the cheaper models don't meet this minimum standard, including one that cost over $400. One vendor didn't specify its security levels, so customers can't tell what they're getting.

Like anything else, a shredder only works if you use it. A professional cleaner recently told me there's a paper shredder in every home he visits, but most are still in the box. I'm not surprised. Shredders are fiddly, time-consuming and they jam. But good intentions won't protect you. If you buy one, set aside time to use it regularly.

Services - paper shredding companies
There are over 50 paper shredding companies in Australia. Most provide 240 litre locked bins and empty them on a schedule, which works well for big companies. A few offer walk-in services or a one-off bin collection so you don't have to commit to a contract.

If you're moving house or doing a major office clear out, these are worthwhile. For regular home or small office use, consider how long it will take to fill a 240 litre bin and where you will store it in the meantime.

Services are usually more environmentally friendly than products. They usually waste fewer resources. This is particularly true for shredding.

Most paper shredded at home ends up in landfill. This is because household recycling facilities can't recycle loose shredded paper, so even if you put it in your yellow-topped recycling bin, it ends up in landfill.

Send and Shred
Send and Shred recycles over 98% of our paper. At $19.95 plus postage, we are also cheaper and more convenient than most other options.

A Send and Shred bag fits up to 5 kilograms or two reams of A4 paper. If you have more paper than that, we recommend buying one of our bulk business packs or contacting a shredding company.


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