In today’s digital, web-focused, technologically savvy world, it’s a wonder anything exists on paper anymore. With the use of digital devices and online news stories, books and newspapers have been printed and sold less and less. But with the information age moving to computers and devices, there’s still one avenue we continue to see printed data. And it is one of the most sensitive: our personal information, whether it has to do with health, banking and finances, personal possessions, or any number of other type of information that we would like to have every confidence is secure.
Why does it matter that my information is on paper?
An estimated 95% of business information continues to be kept on paper. We fill in sensitive information when we visit the doctor’s office. Several forms we fill out for loans, automotive paperwork, job applications and more ask for social security and driver’s license numbers, sometimes address and bank details. Our personal information is everywhere. Some may believe that it’s better to have it all on paper than in the vast mess of endless information that is cyberworld. However online incidents account for less than 10% of cases involving identity theft. And one FBI estimate states that information theft causes businesses in the U.S. around $24 billion each and every year. So what do we do with those hard copies? What documents can be destroyed?
Determining what documents can be destroyed
Health insurance companies and physicians are legally obligated to shred documents. Client and patient information must be protected and secure, so both state and federal laws demand that every medical organization create and implement complete data-destruction plans. Document storage companies that provide safe and secure document storage can be good options for some, but even they cannot be 100% guaranteed.
Basically any such document that has personal information that you don’t want leaking out to just anybody should be destroyed to avoid lack of privacy and potential identity theft and fraud.
What documents can be destroyed and reused?
Every year in the U.S., over 80 million tons of paper are used. The Environmental Protection Agency has claimed that approximately 80% of the paper mills in the U.S. are designed and created particularly for paper that is collected from recycling and paper shredding services. So after finding secure shredding services, all those pieces can be used again! The EPA discovered that recycling contributes 35% less water pollution and 74% less air pollution than the process of making fresh new paper.
Protect your identity and your assets. Destroy sensitive materials, but remember that you can do it in an earth-friendly way.