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What should I be shredding?

It can be difficult to decide what needs shredding and what doesn't. With the advances in technology and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation, electronic media such as hard drives, PC's and laptops are becoming just as important to destroy. Read on to find out what and what not to shred...


To shred or not to shred?

Sometimes it can be difficult to know what is acceptable or encouraged to be destroyed or what can be safely kept, especially with the General Data Protection Regulation coming into effect on 25th May 2018 to update the Data Protection Act. Anything that contains your name, address, phone number, bank account information, or any other form of personal data should be shredded since they contain info that can be traced back to you directly. Data people usually forget to consider include ATM receipts, credit card receipts, passports, and even used airline tickets.

A study in 2015 found that identity theft had risen by a third within a year, with stolen passports and documents accounting for many of the incidents. One of the tips the BBC website gives to avoid this is to shred all financial information containing sensitive material.

Estimates by showed fraud losses to SMEs are estimated at around a staggering £19 billion a year; it is clear a culture of security is necessary in order to minimise losses within the workplace, particularly for small to medium enterprises.  Likewise, sensitive online material poses a similar threat to identity theft, and, in this day and age, more people are becoming victims to online hacks and fraud than ever. Therefore, it’s important to be mindful of data shredding, such as hard drives, USBs, CDs, DVDs, floppy disks and laptops: you might think that simply deleting files resolves the issue, but there are ways in which data can be restored without knowledge of the consumer.


What can't I shred?

Manchester city council have reported that there have been two bin lorry fires caused by batteries placed in household waste bins earlier this year. The bin lorries bend the batteries and cause a spark, which is extremely hazardous as it mixes with other household items. Read more here.


What can't I shred?

The fire risks associated with domestic bin lorries are also true of our mobile document shred trucks. Our shred trucks cross cut confidential paper to 2mm sizes pieces, which equates to about 750 million shredded fragments per truck load. Our mobile shred trucks can shred anything from tiny receipts to huge files containing staples, bulldog clips and other stationery. Our industrial shredders do have the capability to destroy electronic media such as laptops, disks, hard drives and USB sticks, however these are shredded separately to document shredding. Due to a fire risk, we cannot shred metal and other electronic media using the same shredder as a single spark could result in a shred truck fire as seen outside Basildon police station for the second time in 12 months.



Our shredders cannot shred a number of materials as it is extremely dangerous to mix these items with shredded paper due to the potential for a fire. We have listed the materials that are not safe to shred:


×        General and food waste

×        Plastics

×        Polystyrene

×        Metal objects

×        Electrical waste

×        Batteries

×        Aerosols

×        Hazardous waste

×        Calculators



Download our poster for your employees to make them aware of what is safe to shred.

Although we do not accept these hazardous materials in our document shredding receptacles, we can offer the disposal of such materials as long as they are put in a separate receptacle. We can offer both dual shredding consoles or our data destruction wheelie bins. These consoles are available for regular shredding services and our mobile on-site shredding services. We can shred hardware and metal such as hard drives, CD’s and USB sticks if we collect them separately to the documents.




Topwood data destruction ensures that every single piece of data destroyed is disintegrated beyond recovery: this is the only way you can be sure that your data is protected from theft with absolute certainty. Topwood’s low speed, high torque industrial shredder cuts and grinds the media into tiny fragments until they pass through a screen (30mm down to 6mm depending on security requirements). Once powder-like the rendered material is then sent to a smelter so it can be recycled.

If you would like some more information about our media destruction services please contact us at [email protected] or 01948 770 152.

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Please call Free on 0800 781 1066 or email [email protected] - you might be surprised at how cost effective our services are!

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