Appeared in Nikkei Sangyo Journal, November 20, 2013
As the number of fraudulent incidents related to personal information leaks continues to rise, it is important to protect oneself by shredding documents containing credit card or banking information. But in our busy daily lives, this task can become a nuisance even with the use of an electronic paper shredder, especially when there are many documents to be destroyed.
Shred-it (www.shred-it.com) is a company that provides secure information destruction services, such as shredding confidential documents and destroying hard drives and media. It was founded in 1988 by two Canadian entrepreneurial brothers. The company began its operations in the US in 1993; it now has 75 offices across the nation. Its clients include financial institutions, insurance companies, medical organizations, and government agencies.
In addition to their business activities, Shred-it offers community events to raise awareness about the importance of protecting personal information. Usually on the weekends, the company sends its trucks with industrial shredders to a parking lot of a bank or a shopping mall. Local residents can bring their documents to have them destroyed right away. All shredded documents are then recycled. The size of the event varies; one event involved approximately 2,000 participants with a total of 70 tons of documents.
Residential clients normally pay about $10 to have a cardboard box full of documents destroyed, but services are provided free of charge at community events. Instead, the co-sponsoring bank or library asks participants to make a small donation to local charity organizations.
The Secaucus office in New Jersey, which serves as the operational base for the New York metropolitan area, holds 18 to 24 community events a year. Each time, there is a long line of cars with people who come to have their private documents shredded. After confirming the destruction of these documents with their own eyes, they all head home feeling safe and assured that their personal information is protected.