Is Document Shredding Eco-Friendly?

Shredding paper is a popular practice in virtually all offices; shredding your documents will relieve you and your clients of all worries related to protecting sensitive information - you do not want any sensitive data about you or your customers to reach the unwanted eye.

shredder Shredder

By disposing of such private files, you are establishing yourself as a professional in an ethic manner. In fact, laws and regulations will often require you to destroy personal information about your customers. Establishing yourself as a business caring for its customers will result in their loyalty and will gain you a bigger audience.

It also saves space - many businesses tend to have tens of thousands of paper sheets just sitting and wasting their office space. Hiring a shredding company (or buying a shredding machine and then doing the shredding by yourself) to take the paper away will give your offices more free room which can be used in some productive and valuable manner.

But there is another very important, but sadly, often overlooked aspect of paper shredding – it is, or, it can be, eco-friendly. What do we mean by that?

To put things in perspective, let’s consider the USA alone: American offices throw out more than four million tons of paper every year! If you pile up all that paper, you can cover the entire territory of USA with two meters of paper sheets. Recycling a ton of paper saves five barrels of oil, twenty trees and 1400 gallons of water, three cubic meters of landfill space, 30 kilograms of pollutants, 760 liters of gasoline and enough energy to heat an average household for six months.

Many companies are aware of these numbers and have implemented certain eco-friendly policies, and shredding and then recycling office paper is amongst them. Instead of just throwing away their shredded paper, they handle it to specialized shredding companies. Today, there are many environmentally conscious shredding services which will make sure shredded paper is disposed of in an ecologically acceptable manner.
Usually, document shredding companies can do a few things with the remains. They most often sell them to paper recycling companies, which then use the shreds to create new paper material. Some of these shredding services have special arrangements with non-profit organizations, meaning they donate a portion of their profits made through recycling to those organizations.

Eco Eco Earth

Shredding paper has a huge impact on the environment, and saving trees is just one of the benefits of shredding. The entire process of making paper requires a great deal of energy and water, adding many harmful pollutants into the atmosphere in the process. As we’ve already stated, adopting eco-friendly shredding solutions will save tens of thousands of square meters of forests every year. The production of recycled paper needs 65 per cent less energy, 50 per cent less water and causes 72 per cent less pollution than paper materials made from trees.

If you throw a single paper sheet in the trash bin, that sheet will make up more than 33 per cent of the municipal solid waste stream. Taking into consideration how an average office functions, with the average worker using ten thousand pieces of paper in a single year, you can probably imagine what kind of quantity we’re talking about. Shredding and recycling office paper is an important effort to save the environment.

Eco-friendly shredding companies often sometimes organize community events and lectures at companies which are considering employing their services. They organize lectures, workshops and presentations to inform the local community about the benefits of recycling. Your employees will have a chance to hear something about recycling and why is it so important in protecting our planet from pollution and climate change; they will be proud to be a part of the company which makes such environmentally conscious decisions, and the local community will hold your business in high regard as well. Most people would rather use the services of a company known for its eco philosophy (like your own, if you choose to go along that path) which could increase your number of clients, reputation, and, consequently, your profits.

Even if you don’t like the idea of paying a shredding company to dispose you of your paper (or there aren’t any in your vicinity), there are other interesting (and unexpected) ways you can use shredded remains in an ecologically acceptable way and help your local community at the same time. This may sound unusual, but you can donate it to a pet store – chances are they have plenty of rodents, which means they always need large amounts of paper remains for their bedding. You can cut down your disposal costs by giving all the shredded paper to them. They’ll be grateful and you’ve established yourself as a positive force in your community.

The paper can also be used for compost heaps. If you or your employees don’t need it, find a gardening center; they’ll be glad to take it off your hands and it will help the environment in a way you probably wouldn’t have anticipated.

If your employees have children, ask them whether their kids would need the remains for school projects or such; it’s a pretty common practice in many school to conduct workshops where students create new things from old paper in order to teach them the value of recycling. This way you can help by providing the material; sometimes even to the school directly, and emptying your trash bins at the same time.

Earth care Green Earth

Adopting eco-friendly policies, paper recycling among them, requires persistence and some adaptation; finding a good shredding service may be a challenge, but a challenge worthy of completing. Numerous benefits, not just on the financial side, but the sense of fulfillment you and your employees will gain knowing you helped to protect the environment in a time where our eco-system is endangered, as well as the respect and admiration from your local community, will make your ecological efforts definitely worthwhile.

 

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