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6 ways to destroy sensitive papers.

Updated on June 23, 2011
Don't allow your important papers to fall into the wrong hands!
Don't allow your important papers to fall into the wrong hands! | Source

You can never be to careful.

Everyone ends up with documents that they would like to get rid of, but would rather not have fall into the wrong hands. Papers such as junk mail, bank statements, credit card bills, utility bills, insurance documents, school papers, and newsletters are at high risk for identity theft, so how should you handle them? If you don't want to become a hoarder, and don't want someone to hijack your credit, you may need to consider taking one of the following steps.

  1. Shredding: I strongly recommend buying a cross-cut shredder, it destroys your information beyond recognition. Shredders can be purchased at most big box stores and office supply stores. Watch for shredders at yard sales and flea markets, they can often be purchased at a reasonable price (be sure to plug it in to verify it works). You may also consider ordering one online, especially for commercial/industrial uses.Keep in mind the volume of papers that you need to dispose of, shredders generally have a page count that rates how many pages they can shred at once, the more the better. If you feed too many pages through the shredder at once it can seize up, with the possibility of burning up the motor.
  2. Incineration: Burn it! This as simple as a backyard campfire, fireplace, or a wood furnace. Please use sound judgement when dealing with fire. Remember to burn the papers, and not you, your home, your neighbors home, the dog, you get the idea.
  3. Worm Compost: If you are into “green” alternatives, this one maybe for you. Cut your documents into strips, and mix it in with your worm bedding. Red worms are wonderful composters, and will eventually break the papers down. This approach would probably not be appropriate if you have a large quantity to dispose of on a regular basis.
  4. Marker: Mark out any and all personal information using a dark (preferably black) marker. I don't recommend this method, but it may be useful on a small scale, or if you're in a pinch.
  5. Tear/cut it up: This bears the same concept of shredding the papers, but you are doing it manually. Tear it up, cut it up, throw the pieces away separately. Not the most efficient, but may be useful on a small scale.
  6. Professional Disposal: With the heightened concerns of privacy, identity theft, and all sorts of “espionage” document disposal has become a big business. If you have a large volume of documents to dispose of this may be your best option.

Don't fool yourself.

Identity theft is a major concern foreveryonein today's society. Don't allow yourself to be caught off guard by a “it won't happen to me” attitude. Your identity, privacy and future are worth protecting. Take the time to dispose of your documents responsibly, it's not worth the risk.


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    • biblicaliving profile image

      biblicaliving 6 years ago from U.S.A.

      Seanorjohn, Well, Uh, thanks for the comment, I think. Disclaimer- I don't endorse Seanorjohn's approach, but to each his own, I guess..

    • seanorjohn profile image

      seanorjohn 6 years ago

      I read about an unusual way of disposal of papers on a frugal living forum. It's cheap, effective and eco friendly. Place your papers in the bath and soak. This pulp can be added to all sorts of foodstuffs, stews,sandwiches etc and feed to guests and children.My own children have never noticed. In fact even my wife seems more than happy with the new recipe omelettes, mash potato, cheese toasties and various sandwiches.

    • biblicaliving profile image

      biblicaliving 6 years ago from U.S.A.

      Simone, I think if most of us were truly honest, we would have to admit that we enjoy incineration just a little more then we should. I enjoy worm composting, but it takes a little to long depending on the amount of junk mail you have to dispose of. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Most helpful! I must admit, incineration is my favorite. Though I love the eco-friendliness of compost- for the proper sorts of papers, of course :D

    • biblicaliving profile image

      biblicaliving 6 years ago from U.S.A.

      Jeff, I also recommend shredding. The only issue that we have is at times we have so much junk mail, it's difficult to keep up with. Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      Jeff_McRitchie 6 years ago

      Great Hub. I personally recommend high-quality cross-cut shredders to get rid of private papers. They're an important tool in the fight against identity theft.

    • biblicaliving profile image

      biblicaliving 6 years ago from U.S.A.

      Hyphenbird, I thought about recommending a couple of things that were similar. I didn't want to be accused of being extreme, but it is a good idea. I always figured, "if they want it that bad.." Thanks for the comment.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Some friends are suffering because of identity theft. You give great advice here.

      When my son was little, I would put sensitive papers that I needed to dispose of in his soiled diapers. Let someone "mess" with that!