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March 2021
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Shredding Fraud into a Green Opportunity.

Jim Watson, the managing director of Shred Easy, one of the UK’s largest confidential data shredding companies, discusses advances in shredding technology and the benefits of recycling confidential data.

According to Home Office figures, identity fraud is costing the UK £1.7billion a year – that’s £35 a head for the entire population. It’s hardly surprising when roughly 60 million people in the UK use sheets of paper to exchange information.

It is estimated that 95% of business information is still stored on paper and that 115 billion sheets of paper are used annually in the office . Destroying and recycling confidential data in the office has now become more important than ever. The recent spate of security breaches by MPs, regional councils and other organisations has highlighted this.
So, how are we to make an impact on identity fraud and the production of vast amounts of paper? By using less paper and recycling more. Recycled paper doesn’t retain confidential data.

Currently, UK recycling is estimated to save more than 18 million tonnes of C02 a year the equivalent of taking five million cars off the road. The recycling of card and paper products in recent years has moved on leaps and bounds but there is so much more to do.

Carbon emissions

Awareness of the importance of embracing ecologically responsible corporate policies is growing. In the developed world, the G20 governments are pressing ahead with sweeping legislation covering carbon emissions. Enlightened sections of industry have responded to this challenge by looking at the many different ways paper waste can be reduced. Unless compelled to do so by law, relatively few organisations will expend resources on recycling for purely ethical or altruistic reasons. They need to base decisions on hard-nosed commercial reality.

Shred Easy collected, destroyed and recycled more than 20,000 tonnes of confidential material last year. The process helps the environment, conserves resources, saves energy and reduces landfill. Almost 98% of the destroyed material is recycled. Recyclers work with customers to make sure the paper they dispose of contains minimal contamination such as plastic wallets, glossy magazines, lever arch files. The less contamination, the more paper gets recycled. Once shredded, it is baled, recycled and re-used as raw material for household and office paper products.


Businesses are also advised to avoid the possibility of expensive litigation by complying with confidentiality and data protection laws. For example, various ICO fines have been imposed on big name companies guilty of not securing customer data appropriately. Earlier this year, HSBC was fined by the FSA when customer data was lost twice.
It is vital to demonstrate a real sense of responsibility to an organisation’s increasingly eco-aware publics. Spokespeople need to be able to reassure markets, shareholders, customers, the authorities and the world at large that they are doing everything they can to reduce the effects of over-consumption and pollution.

Growing demand for mobile shredding

Despite the recession the shredding industry is growing rapidly. Professional shredding of confidential waste means documents, folders and files are completely destroyed with no chance of being used in any way again. Shred Easy is an ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 UKAS registered company. As part of these standards a business sets a number of targets and objectives, one of which is the monthly recycling rate percentage. This drives a company to achieve higher recycling rates every month.

Shredding on the move

One way businesses, especially those based in city centres, are tackling the destruction of their confidential data is to employ ‘mobile shredders’. These trucks arrive at a company and shred confidential material on the premises and take the shredded material away to be recycled. This is key for two reasons. Firstly, the security of documents is improved if paperwork is shredded before the eyes of a customer and secondly, it’s more cost effective as there are fewer chains in the shredding and transportation process.

The new generation of mobile shredding trucks are designed to minimise carbon emissions by being smaller, lighter and quieter and can visit businesses around a city with minimum disruption. Typically, they will cause less inconvenience than the collection of other types of waste.

Shred Easy has developed an Urban Shredder, an advanced mobile shredding unit, which has an ultra-low Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of only 7.5 tonnes. It operates with a more compact engine than its predecessors and its reduced weight means that it uses less oil and unleaded fuel when being driven or during the shredding process. It is more cost effective and has less impact on the environment.

At just six metres in length, the Urban Shredder is the shortest mobile shredding vehicle on the market. Its maneuverability, coupled with a greater range of driver options, enables it to provide higher levels of service. It means drivers can zip in and out of towns and cities more easily. Furthermore, while the truck size has been reduced, the shred speed remains unaffected.

SCR technology

The Urban Shredder’s exhaust gases are processed by Selective Catalytic Reduction technology (SCR). This reduces particulate emissions by decreasing the nitric oxide levels through the post-treatment of exhaust gases. The greatest advantage of SCR technology is that is uses five percent less fuel which makes it cheap to run and less harmful to the environment. This technology meets the Euro 5 emission standards that come into force in 2009.

SCR technology uses only one chemical reactant named AdBlue, a water solution of urea, which reacts with the nitric oxides once it has been sprayed into the exhaust gases and transforms them into harmless substances. The consumption of AdBlue usually makes up three – five percent of all fuel consumed by the vehicle. The SCR makes the PM filter redundant since the production of harmful particulates is minimal. It also improves the performance of the vehicle and extends the life of motor-propulsion units.

In addition the low levels of particulates produced through combustion reduces the contamination of the lubricating fluid oil and allows extended maintenance intervals which further enhances the Urban Shredder’s productivity.

Cradle to grave solution

If an organisation can boost its green credentials at the same time as reducing risks then all the better. The ‘cradle to grave, then back to cradle’ process used by shredding companies is one that’s completely green because all shredded paper is then recycled and used again. The process helps the environment, conserves resources, saves energy and reduces landfill.

Case study

Gary Dawson, of Kuehne + Nagel the global supply chain company, has been using a mobile shredding company for a number of years because the service is cost effective and good for the environment:

“We’re in the supply chain business so it’s important that all our own processes are as lean and green as possible.

“Now, our on-site shredding company comes to us every four weeks. Our files, folders and old CDs can be destroyed right in front of our eyes. This is reassuring because we know that our data is being disposed of securely. The process is convenient, saves time and saves money as we don’t have to employ a driver to transport our waste to a depot. Plus we’re doing our bit for the environment by reducing our carbon footprint.

“We treat our confidential data very seriously indeed and we have our own internal policies to deal with it. Every member of staff knows how to identify, securely store and check the destruction of our confidential waste.”

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