Frequently Asked Questions

Can shredded paper be recycled?

Yes. Once we have collected your paper-based information in our specialist sealed containers (consoles), we securely transport the paper to one of our 10 branch locations around the UK via our GPS-tracked fleets. All the shredded paper is processed and baled, and then categorised into two grades for market purposes – either sorted office waste (SOW) or coloured heavy letter (CHL), with the latter being the higher quality grade. The shredded paper is recycled by being sold into the UK domestic market to a tissue mill which produces household and business products, while the CHL grade is shipped into France and Germany to paper mills which produce pulp and recycled high-grade paper. 

Why is shredded paper not recyclable?

The UK uses nearly 13 million tonnes of paper and cardboard each year, of which nearly 70% is recycled, according to the Recycle Now initiative. Paper is a valuable recyclable material but it does have to be clean – a good tip is that if you scrunch paper and it doesn’t spring back, it can be recycled. Paper that is stained with foodstuffs, paint or dirt, as well as tissues, wet wipes, foil-based gift wrap and brown paper are not recyclable and are sent to our reclamation unit for sorting. Recyclable shredded paper is pulped at a paper mill and then put through a screening process that filters out impurities in preparation for the removal of printing ink. The newly recycled pulp is then mixed with fresh pulp to manufacture new paper products. This secure shredding and recycling process provides a secure chain of custody and helps businesses fulfil environmental obligations.

How much do shredding services cost in the UK?

With the introduction of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an information breach could cost your company millions - fines under the new law are now 20 million euros or 4% of annual global turnover (whichever is the higher). So, partnering with the right information security company is one of the most important decisions you can make. Shred-it offers a range of services that include regularly scheduled or on-demand paper shredding, hard drive and media destruction and speciality shredding, all of which help you to safely dispose of unwanted or outdated confidential information. Contact us for a customised quote according to your needs, then choose when and where you want your chosen service. All services come with a Certificate of Destruction for your records.

Where are documents shredded?

Disposing of confidential documents in open recycling or waste bins could pose a serious threat to your data protection obligations, so consider partnering with a reputable information destruction service such as Shred-it. Once you have chosen the type of document or media shredding service you require, you choose when and where you would like the service. We have 19 strategically placed services centres, including six dedicated off-site shred centres throughout the UK and Ireland. In addition, we have 120 on-site shredding trucks and 140 off-site vehicles providing support and service to our customers. As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility and in an effort to raise awareness of identity theft, Shred-it organises community events around the UK, offering free paper shredding services to the public. To find out more, contact your local Shred-it branch on 0800 197 1164.

How much does it cost to shred a hard drive?

Employee negligence and the lack of security training are the two main issues which lead to security breaches. Electronic storage devices constitute 41% of sensitive items lost or stolen while employees are working off-site and 87% of businesses don’t use a professional service to physically destroy old hard drives, USBs and other hardware. Physical destruction is the only way to make 100% sure a hard drive is destroyed securely. You have access to the same range of services from Shred-it as you would for paper shredding i.e. regularly scheduled or on-demand shredding services and you are assured of a secure chain of custody at every touchpoint. A certificate of hard drive destruction is issued after every service and material is securely recycled where possible. Shred-it charges £7 per hard drive we dispose of securely and most are destroyed in our approved shred centres and stored until they can be recycled.

Can shredded paper be composted?

Yes it can. Most paper can be composted to use in mulch, including bills, envelopes, expandable files and newspapers and magazines, unless they contain heavy toxic metals e.g. foil wrapping paper. This process can dramatically reduce the environmental impact and some estimates report that each tonne of saves 17 trees; 1,400 litres of oil and 26,500 litres of water. paper can be your garden’s greatest friend – like newsprint provides an excellent source of carbon and, since is almost completely carbon, it can greatly help balance a compost that has been supplied with too much nitrogenous matter. Moisture absorption and water retention is also increased when using for composting.

What size jobs do you accept?

Shred-it has shredding options to service all jobs, large or small. Our customers range from small offices to major multi-national organisations. Depending on your needs, many of our locations offer walk-in services, so you can bring a small quantity of documents that you need destroyed to our branch for shredding. In addition, Shred-it's enterprise solutions include services designed for large organisations, such as consolidated billing, a dedicated customer service team and detailed reporting.

What type of material do you shred?

We can shred just about anything, but we mostly shred paper. And instead of using conventional strip-cut shredders, we use crosscut shredding technology that reduces the paper to fine, confetti-like pieces. In addition, there's no way the paper we shred can ever be reconstructed again, because the confetti-like pieces are immediately mixed with millions of pieces of other shredded documents.

Our unique technology can also destroy other materials including fabric, plastic, electronics and metals. Yes, that means CDs, hard drives, videotapes, DVDs and even casino chips. If you have any questions about the material you would like to shred, "Contact Us" directly.

Do I need to sort the paper?

Not at all. All you need to do is put the documents into the locked containers we provide and that's it. You don't have to worry about removing anything else, not even paper clips, staples or binder clips. Our shredders can handle that.

How is the stored material kept safe before it is shredded?

Your employees put the documents that they want shredded into Shred-it's locked containers.   

We will help you decide how many containers are needed and place them in convenient locations throughout your office.

What happens if our console is full before the regularly scheduled service time?

If your container fills up too quickly, just give us a call.  We’ll be happy to schedule an extra collection. If it starts to happen a lot we can provide you with additional containers or increase the frequency of your service.

How often do your employees undergo training?

Our employees receive a great deal of on-going training, specially designed to keep them up to date on everything related to information security.  Hands-on training is provided in a classroom setting, online, and in the field... and that means you get the best possible secure service.

Security risk assessment - why is this important and what does it do for me?

A security risk assessment helps you determine the level of information security in your business - and that helps identify security risks and how to put a secure and safe paper shredding programme in place.

How does a security risk assessment work? A Certified Information Security Professional will accompany you on a walk-round of your workplace to observe the flow of confidential information, identify current practices and potential areas of risk. When they are finished, they will sit down with you and review the risks - and solutions. One of the things they'll explain is where to put the Shred-it containers (for example, in the HR or Finance departments, where sensitive documents are often created).

Contact us about having one of our representatives carry out a free Data Security Survey to assess information security risks in your workplace or take our online Risk Assessment Survey. It will help you determine how securely you are managing confidential information and the paper shredding process.


What happens to the paper after it has been shredded?

After the paper has been securely shredded, the confetti-sized pieces are baled and recycled into paper products.


Do you shred residential or home office documents?

Shred-it believes it is important to securely destroy all confidential information, regardless of whether it originates at a residence or business. The ideal solution for you depends on the amount of material that you need shredded. Many of our branches offer walk-in services and we also provide Community Shred-it events, which are organised local events that provide shredding services for the community - often for a minimal donation.

To find out if there is a branch near you offering a walk-in service or a Community Shred-it event, find a Shred-it location near you.

How am I able to determine our environmental contribution?

Shred-it is an environmentally-conscious company that takes recycling very seriously. Every year we provide our clients with a Certificate of Environmental Accomplishment, which shows the number of trees they have saved by using Shred-it's services. It's just part of what we do.

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