January 31, 2017

Shred-it Process: Benefits of Secure Paper Recycling

Has your workplace put secure paper recycling in place?  

While paper recycling efforts have made an impact, there’s still room for improvement. According to a 2015 statement by the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA), global paper recycling rates range from 58% to 75%.

But information security now plays an all-important role in how we deal with paper too, and there are large and small workplaces that need to re-think the way they handle paper documents. While recycling programmes are well established, other initiatives such as Clean Desk policies help to maximise organisations' environmental efforts.

There are other steps workplaces must take to protect confidential information.

Tips for secure recycling

Here’s a look at how focusing on information security and secure recycling can improve the traditional document disposal process, as well as protect the environment.

Document Creation

Traditional: The importance of reducing the amount of paper we use has lead to green strategies such as digitising information if possible, and printing on both sides of paper. But there is still a need to print out some documents. Once these documents are no longer required, the traditional mindset is to simply dispose of them.

Secure Recycling:  A security-minded workplace has a document management policy in place so that confidential information is protected from creation through to disposal. Requirements are based on compliance and data protection laws, and stipulate that confidential information is securely destroyed when it is no longer needed. In practice, this policy also informs employees about the importance of protecting information.

Disposal of paper

Traditional: Traditionally, paper products are put into open recycling bins that are placed around the workplace. These bins increase the risk of a security breach because documents can be seen and easily stolen by insider fraudsters and other criminals.

Secure Recycling: A document destruction partner installs locked consoles around the workplace and when confidential paper documents are no longer needed, employees deposit them into the consoles. Once paper is inside, it cannot be retrieved. A Shred-it all Policy is recommended so that employees do not decide what is or isn’t ‘confidential’, and all documents are earmarked for secure destruction when they are no longer needed.


Traditional: In the traditional process, office recycling bins are dumped into larger open recycling containers, which are often left outside for collection. This leaves confidential information vulnerable to information thieves.

Secure Recycling: According to the agreed collection schedule, information security specialists come into the workplace and securely empty consoles and transport documents for secure shredding.  

Paper Destruction

Traditional: Paper products are transported to a recycling plant by lorry, and information is exposed along the way. At the recycling plant, documents are sorted by unvetted staff. While documents are eventually destroyed by a recycling process, there’s no guaranteed destruction time, and no proof of destruction.

Secure Recycling: A professional document destruction company has a secure shredding process that utilises an industrial shredding machine. Then, shredded paper is bundled and sent to a paper mill for recycling. A Certificate of Destruction is provided after every shred.     

Learn how your business can minimise security risks throughout a document's lifecycle.