One of the biggest security risks to confidential waste is exposing it to unauthorised access. confidential waste disposal Any supplier you use should also be able to provide you with an official Waste Transfer Note and Certificate of Destruction once the waste has been destroyed.
What is confidential waste?
Confidential waste is a broad term. The best way to clarify whether or not something is confidential waste is to consider what could potentially happen if this waste got into the wrong hands. For example, could any individuals be identified by the contents of the waste? Does the waste contain any personal information such as names, contact information, or financial data? Or, does the waste contain information about an organisation or business that could be used in any way maliciously? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it’s highly likely that the waste you have is confidential.
What are the different types?
Countless different materials could contain confidential information. It comes in many forms. There is personal confidential waste, commercial confidential waste, government waste, and much more. Some specific items that are almost certain to contain some form of sensitive information are listed below:
Paper-based & personal
- Bank statements
- Old chequebooks
- ATM receipts
- Insurance information
- Job applications and CVs
- Tax documents
- Old envelopes
- Old luggage tags and travel itineraries
- Returns slips and invoices that come with online orders
- Contracts for utility services, internet services, phone services, and more.
Paper-based confidential commercial & government waste
- Archived business or government information past their record retention deadlines
- General office paperwork that is no longer needed
- Customer information
- Customer complaint information
- Marketing materials
- Sales materials
- Unsuccessful applicant information
- Information about ex-employees such as emergency contact details
- Information about employees, for example, equal opportunities monitoring, records of disciplinaries and health information.
- Expired credit and debit cards
- Old hard drives, memory cards, CCTV tapes, and other media storage devices
- Old uniforms
- ID cards and security badges
- Product prototypes (to reduce the risk of theft)
- Unsold stock that is not suitable for discounted sale or donation
- Counterfeit goods, seized goods, and much more.
Why should businesses destroy confidential waste?
There is a wealth of reasons to destroy confidential waste through shredding. There are financial reasons, legal reasons, data protection obligations, and environmental responsibilities.
To neglect any of these reasons could cause irreparable damage to the reputation of a business. It could also cause legal issues, result in fines, and expose companies to the threat of theft.
Confidential information in the wrong hands is a cause for concern for any business. There have been numerous cases in recent years where data has been stolen from UK businesses. The news regularly features companies who have fallen victim to fraud and had customer data stolen. But theft can also happen internally. Between January and March 2017, one single employee in a national private healthcare company stole over 500,000 customer records and attempted to sell them on the dark web for a profit.
For all of these reasons, secure and timely confidential waste disposal is imperative for companies and government bodies. To ensure employees dispose of confidential waste correctly and minimise the risk of incorrect judgement, we recommend adopting a Shred Everything policy. Businesses should also consider enforcing strict limits on who can access sensitive data.
Why should individuals destroy confidential waste?
Individuals, like businesses, can be putting themselves at risk by incorrectly disposing of confidential waste.
Fraud is the UK’s most common crime. A technique used by fraudsters known as bin raiding is a very common method of stealing confidential information from unsuspecting victims. Sometimes, these crimes go unnoticed for months or even years, often only picked up when an individual’s credit rating is noticeably damaged. Disposing of confidential paperwork in a domestic bin or recycling bin can increase that risk. To guarantee data is safe, for paper and other materials, we recommend using an accredited service provider. With an accredited provider, you’ll receive a Certificate of Destruction. Your data, in most cases, will also be commingled with thousands of other people’s data, making it truly impossible to retrieve.
What are the risks associated with disposal using a home or office shredder?
Some may be tempted to use a home or office shredder rather than using a certified shredding company. Unfortunately, there are risks associated with this method of confidential waste disposal.
Firstly, there are many physical dangers of in-house shredding, including particle inhalation, injury from dangerous mechanics, and even fire risk. This could put you or your employees at risk, and it could also have financial implications. In the workplace, shredding-related injuries could cost thousands of pounds in damages. For individuals, injuries may impair your ability to work and cause loss of earnings. Home shredders can also be extremely dangerous for small children and pets.
Secondly, using a home or office shredder may pose a risk to data, particularly if the shredder you are using is a strip-cut shredder. Strip-cut documents are easy to reconstruct, especially in the hands of an experienced thief. How you conduct confidential waste disposal after shredding plays a part, too. If you are leaving bags of shredded paper outside in an unsecure bin, it could be at risk.
For these reasons, we would always recommend using a professional service to handle your confidential waste disposal.
With Shred Station, your data is commingled with around five or six tonnes of other paperwork upon collection and later commingled with even more at our secure destruction facilities. It is then baled into 750kg blocks and sent to UK mills for recycling amongst dozens of other blocks. It is never accessible by the public, and there is no risk of a data thief reconstructing your documents once in the hands of our security vetted operatives.