Environmental responsibility and document security: two sides of the same coin?

Posted  June 17, 2014  by  Jenny Green

Welcome to Shred-it UK’s first blog post and happy recycling week!

Did you know that on average, each person in the UK throws away seven times their body weight in rubbish every year? Clearly, paper recycling programmes go a long way towards making a business more environmentally sustainable but inadequate document security practices could be to the detriment of your confidential information.

In the spirit of this year’s Recycling Week theme 'recycling at home and away', we thought it apt to share some pointers on how you can reduce negative environmental impact, but at the same time, protect your personal information, reputation and bottom line.

For all you SME business owners out there, did you know that almost 99% of all private companies in the UK are in fact small businesses? It follows that the extent to which SME owners embrace recycling, cutting down energy use and other green initiatives, has an enormous impact on the environment.

However, it’s important to be critical about what businesses are putting in the recycling bin. Crime in the workplace is on the rise, and in many cases, the guilty party works for the company so those documents sitting in a recycling bin or waiting in large clear plastic bags by the lift are a magnet for data thieves. Status reports, invoices, performance reviews or even meeting notes can all be sensitive information an unscrupulous individual can use against you, your business and of course, your clients.

So how can you protect this information while also being environmentally responsible? Don’t forget that it is possible to recycle paper that is shredded so you no longer have to choose between being secure and being green. Be sure to partner with a professional document destruction company which destroys paper in a way that can be recycled and ships the information directly to a paper mill for recycling. Shredding is easy as you do not need to sort your paper, remove staples, paperclips or other bindings beforehand, as these will easily pass through an industrial shredder and be filtered out during the recycling process.

Remember, being environmentally responsible may be good for business, but not in the narrow sense of outdoing your competition and raising your CSR profile. Given what is at stake for the environment, the community and the UK economy at large, it is a collaborative effort among all businesses of all sizes. Make sure you do your part #recyclenow.

Have a look through our “Green tips and ideas” factsheet for more information.

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