Buy a paper shredder. Paper shredders come in a variety of shapes, sizes and qualities. In general, the most effective shredders are usually those with the higher price tags. These also tend to be able to shred a higher volume of paper more efficiently. Which shredder you choose entirely depends on your needs. Any office supply store will carry a range of shredders for both home and office use.
If you are shredding large amounts of paper, get the best shredder that you can afford. Low priced shredders tend to only allow you to shred one or two documents at a time, feeding them in slowly by hand. If you have a lot of paper to shred, this could take a very long time.
If you are shredding documents with highly private or sensitive information, don’t opt for the cheapest shredder solution. A mid-priced home or office shredder is your best bet. This is because the cheaper the shredder, the less effective the shredding mechanism actually is. It may shred in fairly large strips; you’d want to get something higher quality to destroy your sensitive documents.
Investigate document destruction services. If you don’t want to invest in a shredder, or if the amount you have to shred is very large, there are companies that specialize in document disposal. The cost is relatively low, and it’s common for these businesses to allow you to watch your documents being shredded, for your own peace of mind.
Do a quick Google search for your local document destruction agencies – in most cities, you’ll have multiple options and a range of prices and services. Choose what suits your situation best.
In many cases, document disposal agencies will come to you and shred on-site. This is an especially popular choice for small businesses and those in a corporate setting.
If you are disposing of paper on a regular basis, document destruction agencies offer regularly scheduled services.
Most of these companies will provide you with a Certificate of Destruction after each service, providing you with even more peace of mind.
If privacy protection is your main motivation for disposing of paper, don’t forget to consider any old hard drives you might have in your home or office. Many of these companies also offer destruction services for a variety of media.
Shred the paper using a shredder. Follow the instruction manual carefully. Shredders can jam up very easily if you try to pass through too many documents at once.
Check the volume your shredder can handle. Smaller machines can only shred around 5 documents at one time. Bigger machines can handle a lot more. Be sure not to exceed your machine’s shredding capacity.
Also check your machine’s manual for items that shouldn’t be shredded. Some of the smaller home machines will jam if you try to shred an envelope with a plastic window. Other machines can easily shred plastic windows, staples, paper clips and even credit cards.
If you do exceed capacity or shred the wrong item and end up with a paper jam, all standard machines are equipped with a reverse mode that allows you to remove the jam easily.
After you are finished with your shredding, don’t forget to turn the machine off. Leaving it on for excessive amounts of time can overheat its motor.
Shredders need to be oiled on a regular basis to keep them working optimally. Many machines provide a small bottle of this when you purchase it. If yours didn’t, you can easily pick this up at any office supply store.
To oil the machine, drizzle a small amount of the lubricant through the machine’s feed opening and run your shredder in reverse mode for about 60 seconds. Then switch it back to normal mode and pass a few papers through to absorb any excess oil.
Shred the paper by hand. You probably only want to do this if you have a relatively small amount of paper to dispose of, as this method can be rather time-consuming. It’s generally not a recommended way to dispose of documents that contain sensitive information. If you do choose this method, make sure you do tear the paper into very small pieces.
Tear the paper into six to eight vertical strips. Then take those strips and tear them into pieces no larger than one inch. Anything larger will be a security risk.
After you complete your task, store the paper in a bag somewhere safe, such as a locked closet or office, until you can recycle it.
Recycle the shredded material. After paper is shredded, it is still viable for recycling and there is no security risk in doing this. If the amount of shredded material will fit into your home recycling bin, its fine to put it in there. If you have a large volume of shredded material, it’s better to take it to a recycling agency yourself.
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