Document Destruction: Doing It Right

by | Jul 25, 2016 | Electronic Records, General Business, Retention Articles and Information

Document Destruction: Doing It Right

Over the course of the year, even a small company can produce, handle, and execute a large amount of paperwork that will require storage at some point. Multiply your annual document yield by five years or more and you may have accumulated dozens of archive boxes full of obsolete documents in the form of customer invoices, literature, correspondence, and bills.

Paper stack with help signThe government requires that all businesses keep documents for a preset number of the years in case of a internal audit is executed, but how do you dispose of obsolete documentation once you are legally allowed to destroy them? (Be sure to confirm your government’s policy before destroying any records.)

Document destruction companies have been around for the past few decades and are enjoying an increase in popularity due the reported threats of identity theft. Business of all sizes are hiring document destruction services (or paper shredding services) to destroy and dispose of their old paperwork.

What to Look For

Due to the confidential nature of your documents, don’t trust your document shredding needs to just anybody with a shredder and a trash can.  To locate a reputable company in your area, consult your yellow pages or business directory. A local, reputable document destruction company is your best choice especially if the job will involve more than a day’s work or frequent repeat visit. Inquire if the company is a member of a governing organization for document destruction service companies. A reputable document shredding company should advertise a proclamation of confidentiality.  The company personnel should be security cleared, bonded, and insured for your protection. If the employee’s are not bonded, find another company.  You should also inquire if the company’s employees have photo ID to identify them as such.  Your documents are your personal business and you don’t want them to fall into the wrong hands.

Onsite or Offsite?

Some companies are mobile meaning they will come to you with their shredding equipment and perform the service on your site. This is a good idea if your archives are stored onsite; you won’t have to worry about hauling your archives to another location.  Also, if the shredding takes place at your place of business, you can visually watch the shredding to make sure every piece of paperwork is destroyed and no stray papers are left behind.

Certificate of Destruction Please

A reputable company should provide you with a Certificate of Destruction once the job is completed. This is your proof that the documents have been properly shredded and disposed of. It is a good idea to keep the certificate in a safe place just in case you need to confirm the destruction of your documents for whatever reason.

Next time, you venture into your archive storage area, consider destroying old documents that you are no longer required to keep and free up some much needed space.


[su_icon_text icon=”icon: pencil-square-o”]C. Cristiano is a freelance writer and her work has appeared in numerous publications throughout Canada and the US.[/su_icon_text]

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