February 21, 2024

How Shred-it securely recycles your confidential paper waste

Businesses already face strict privacy and security regulations with GDPR. Concurrently businesses are facing pressure to help reach industry and national net-zero targets. In most cases, these challenges remain separate – but when it comes to the disposal of confidential documents the balance is a little more tricky. Destroying secure information is a critical and non-negotiable aspect of safeguarding sensitive data. But does recycling paper waste containing this data compromise security?

The answer is, it doesn’t need to.

While recycling bins are a common sight in offices, they can pose a significant risk to data security if used incorrectly. But this doesn’t mean secure papers cannot be recycled at all. In this blog, we will delve into the challenges of recycling confidential paper securely, and how a secure information destruction provider, such as Shred-it, can address these challenges and contribute to businesses’ green goals.

The challenges of recycling confidential paper waste securely

The traditional document disposal process involving recycling bins exposes confidential information to various security risks. From unsecured bins to transportation and sorting facilities, the potential for data breaches is significant, as highlighted by this handy infographic. As the average office worker in the UK goes through 6,000 sheets of paper annually1, the recycling bin is a potential goldmine for data thieves.

Luckily, using a secure document destruction process minimises the risk of security breaches, providing clients with peace of mind and help with their compliance.

How we securely recycle our customers' confidential paper waste 

Shred-it employs a seven-stage recycling process that ensures the secure disposal and recycling of confidential documents. This is how it works:

  • Secure collection: Confidential documents are dropped into a secure, locked container, equipped with a tamper-proof compartment.
  • Regular service: On a scheduled basis, containers are emptied and all confidential documents are destroyed.
  • Certificate of destruction: Customers receive a certificate of destruction, providing an audit trail for compliance with regulations, including GDPR.
  • Paper mill processing: Shredded paper is transported to a paper mill for recycling. The fibres are separated and screened, removing impurities and preparing the pulp for ink removal.
  • Paper separation: Pulp is made as the fibres of the shredded paper are separated.
  • Process screening: The pulp is put through a screening process that filters out impurities and prepares it for  the removal of printing ink.
  • Pulp mixture: The recycled pulp is mixed with fresh pulp to manufacture new, high-demand paper products.

ESG benefits of secure paper recycling

Now that we know security doesn’t need to be compromised by secure paper recycling, let’s have a look at why recycling is so important. In businesses such as legal firms, financial institutions, healthcare practices and others, secure papers can pile up – so being able to recycle all of these documents can achieve a genuinely positive ESG impact:

  1. Environmental impact:
    By recycling and securely disposing of 454,000 tonnes of paper in 2022, Shred-it played a crucial role in environmental conservation2. The recycled paper helps reduce the demand for fresh pulp, conserving natural resources.
  2. Social responsibility:
    Our commitment to secure document destruction aligns with social responsibility by safeguarding confidential information, protecting individuals and organisations from data breaches.
  3. Governance and compliance:
    Shred-it adheres to the highest standards of security and compliance, providing your business with a transparent and traceable process. Customers also receive a certificate of destruction after every service. 

Recycle secure files without compromise

Shred-it not only ensures the security of confidential information but also contributes significantly to sustainability and helping customers with their ESG objectives.

Choose Shred-it for secure paper recycling and to protect your data and the environment simultaneously. Contact us today to see how we can help your business.



Shred-it Data, Privacy and Sustainability 2023 report (UK consumers)