Shredding Paper Files
This information was compiled by the PII-Program team in conjunction with MIT's Procurement Office.
Shredding Your Own Documents
If you want to do your own secure shredding, at a minimum you need a 'cross-cut' shredder (also called 'confetti cut,' 'diamond cut,' 'micro cut'). Such shredders generate small pieces of paper vs. strips, since strips of paper can, in theory, be reassembled and reveal their secrets. For most MIT business documents, cross cut shredded paper is sufficiently secure that it can be put in MIT's paper recycling bins.
Before spending more than $200 on a shredder, consider one of the shredding services listed below - the service may actually be more cost effective.
Fellowes makes a number of shredders including 'personal' (which can also work well in offices with low volume shredding requirements) and 'small office.' Fellowes personal shredders can sometimes be found in retail stores (e.g. Costco) for under $100. Here are 3 shredders we've highlighted from the Staples catalog (prices reflect MIT discount):
- Powershred PS-67Cs (Staples# 636721) ~ $160
- Intellishred PS-79Ci (Staples# 703104) ~ $260
- Intellishred SB-89Ci (Staples# 703106) ~ $300
If you want to compare these or other models, consider using the Staples 'compare selected' function on their web page. For those with purchasing authorization, you can place an order through Ecat.
Having a locked container means materials can be disposed of immediately, vs. lying around until someone has time to do the shredding. A shredder bin is also quiet, with no shredder maintenance or mess of paper shreds, and you do not need to remove paper clips, or other binding. Bins typically come in 3 sizes:
- 36" Lockable Executive Console - Dimensions: 36"H x 19"D x 19"W; Capacity - 100 lbs; putty colored (for 'front office' environment)
- 64 Gallon Lockable Bin with wheels - Dimensions: 42.25"H x 29.25"D x 22.5"W; Capacity - 225 lbs
- 95 Gallon Lockable Bin with wheels - Dimensions: 46"H x 34"D x 26.5"W'; Capacity - 350 lbs
Using a Shredding Service
If you have routine shredding needs, particularly of multiple page documents, a shredding service is strongly recommended. The typical company will provide locked containers free of charge, which you can fill with paper or mixed media (paper, binders, CDs, VHS tapes, etc). They charge when they take the bin away (and give you an empty one.) You should also receive a certificate stating that they will securely destroy materials.
Use vendors who are National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) certified. At a minimum, you want to ensure the vendor is using enclosed trucks (so paper can’t fly out) and trucks are taken to a secure paper shredding facility (and not taken to local paper recycling center, where office paper may be bundled and resold as scrap paper – unshredded.)
Some companies offer onsite shredding. This is generally more expensive (the trucks are a major investment), and generally no more secure than offsite services that follow NAID standards. But they do offer the visceral satisfaction of seeing your material destroyed. The PII program worked with MIT's Procurement Office to identify recommended services. These firms follow NAID standards, and accept MIT procurement card for payment:
|Vendor||Paper Shredding||Mixed Media/
|Yes||Yes, may accept mixed media (e.g. CDs) in same bin as paper||~ $45 to empty bin. Call for quote|
For ongoing services these vendors provide a bin at no charge, and will charge when the bin is emptied. These companies will also shred accumulated boxes of materials. Note, however, that boxes of confidential material sitting around constitute a potential risk of data loss – it is generally safer to securely dispose of sensitive information as soon as it is no longer needed.