You may already know the advantages of shredding documents over throwing them away. For any sensitive information – especially financial and medical documents – shredding is a much more secure way to dispose of them so that the information can't be used for identity theft.
If you are a company, shredding also helps you stay in compliance with HIPAA or FACTA requirements (the first requires you to actively prevent access to any health records you have while the second requires you to destroy consumer information before throwing it out).
But if information destruction is so important, why shred when you could incinerate? If you've ever seen a document go through a home shredder and be turned into strips, you may have said to yourself, "Surely it wouldn't be that hard to piece that back together again?" Ash, on the other hand, would be a permanent way to destroy information.
Professional Shredding Is Much More Secure Than Home Shredding
When you picture a small document shredder, you are probably imagining a strip shredder or cross cut shredder. The former simply slices documents into small strips, while the latter gives them a second cut for added security.
Professional shredding companies, however, have access to much more powerful shredding machines. Grinders, disintegrators, and granulators shred the paper down until the pieces are so tiny they can fall through a mesh screen. Hammermills shred the paper by forcing it through a screen. Pierce-and-tear shredders simultaneously puncture paper full of holes and rip paper apart. Nothing that goes through these types of machines is going to be reassembled afterwards.
In addition, shredding companies know how to deal with confidential information – it's their job. Incineration companies, on the other hand, may mix your confidential documents in with all sorts of other material to be processed and burned.
Shredded Paper Can Be Recycled
One unfortunate thing you may have heard about paper shredding is that, the finer the paper is shredded, the less valuable it is as recycled material. However, even very finely shredded paper can be recycled into products like bath or facial tissue. Incinerating paper, on the other hand, causes air pollution.
You Can Shred More Than Just Paper
While burning paper may be relatively easy and safe, there may be other things you need to destroy that aren't so easily burned. You may need to get rid of credit cards or identity/employee cards, CDs and DVDs, microfilm and microfiche… most shredding companies will even shred hard drives and tape reels. And shredding these objects is better for the environment as they, too, can often be recycled.
Talk to professionals like Document Demolition LLC for more information.