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World Environment Day 2010 - UK Recycling Reaches Record High

Shred-it helps clients in the UK and Ireland save over 695,700 trees

This Saturday, 5 June, is World Environment Day – an ideal time to highlight the great efforts that UK households and businesses are making towards saving the environment, as UK recycling volumes reach a record high.

According to the latest data published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), England as a region achieved a 38.8 per cent household waste recycling rate during 2001, while the figures reveal that waste sent to landfill decreased by 1.2 million tonnes last year. This is up from 34.5 per cent in 2007-08 and shows a continued improvement in recycling from 11.2 per cent in 2000-01.

From a business perspective, the UK’s largest document destruction company Shred-it reports that during 2009, Shred-it helped its clients in the UK and Ireland to save the equivalent of over 695,700 trees, through the shredding of over 38,650 tonnes of confidential documents – an increase of 10 per cent when compared with Shred-it’s recycling total for 2008.

Robert Guice, Executive Vice President, EMEA of Shred-it Limited, said: “From local communities to the largest corporations, people all over the UK are rethinking the way they use the world’s resources. As these latest figures show, UK businesses and households are grabbing the environmental challenge with both hands and doing their bit towards a greener society.”

However Shred-it warns that as we recycle more and more, it is important to pay close attention to the documents we send off for recycling, whether in a domestic or corporate setting, as poor security can lead to unnecessary and costly risks, such as identity theft.

Robert Guice added: “Documents left in recycling bins for pickup by local authorities and waste contractors can leave households, businesses and their customers at risk of security breaches, if confidential information is not properly destroyed or securely shredded before being recycled.”

“Our message is that everybody can still look out for the environment without sacrificing on security. We encourage our clients to shred all the paper they produce; by doing this through Shred-it they are ensuring that their waste paper is both recycled and 100 per cent secure.” Experts from Shred-it have produced an environmental checklist outlining some important considerations when taking care of confidential information, both at home and in the workplace: 

Shred-it’s World Environment Day Environmental Checklist

At home

  • Shred unwanted receipts, cheques, pre-approved credit applications and old tax returns
  • Keep your personal documents in a locked box, secure storage area or personal safe
  • When recycling, check that you have not accidentally disposed of any confidential documents with the rest of your household waste
  • Destroy envelopes and ‘return address’ labels
  • Check your credit report every year and report problems immediately
  • Pop into your local Shred-it branch to securely shred your personal documents with our 'walk in service'.

In the workplace

  • Ensure your data is stored in a secure and confidential place and develop a document management system. Be sure to protect the information that must be kept and shred information when it’s time to dispose of it.
  • Shred all sensitive documents and old files, including receipts, letterheads, contact lists, customer data, business cards, business forms, financial reports, proprietary information.
  • Make sure to use a data destruction provider that understands environmental responsibility - ask about your supplier’s current environmental targets and goals.
  • Ask your document destruction provider where the shredded paper goes.  Make sure the shredded paper is recycled once it leaves your premise, and not just thrown in the landfill.
  • Know and share the results of your recycling efforts. For example, calculate how many trees your office has “saved” by its paper recycling efforts. Then, you can keep tallies and try to increase this every year, and encourage employees to participate.

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