Paper Shredders vs Outsourcing Paper Shredding

Even without legislation it is important to keep your company, personal and customer’s information private. The market for home/office paper shredders is huge.

A simple google search will find a variety of paper shredders from big and small office furniture / equipment retailers. BUT are they worth the money? What are the real costs of in-house shredding? What are the risks? How does this compare against outsourcing?


Shredding yourself provides no record of compliance

In the event of a privacy violation, complaint or audit, it is very likely that you will be asked to verify your compliance in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.

Shredding discarded information yourself provides you with no verifiable record of compliance. The Shred-X service gives you a verified, ongoing record of regular compliance with the provision of a Certificate of Destruction.

Employees should not handle some sensitive information

When your employees do the shredding you basically have two options. We feel neither of these situations are acceptable solutions for shredding confidential documents.

  1. Asking entry-level employees to do the shredding, exposing sensitive personnel records and competitive information to individuals who shouldn’t see it, or
  2. Management level employees, who are especially busy and paid top dollar to do more important work doing the shredding.

Office shredders break down

If you have ever owned a paper shredder you know they have a tendency to break down. In addition to the costly exercise of repairing or replacing the shredder, the documents that you should be shredding start to pile up.

The burden can become so great that there is a possibility that by the time your machine is repaired, staff may feel inclined to cut corners in order to catch up.

Office shredders can’t handle some materials

A simple look through an Officeworks catalogue will show you a range of home and small office paper shredders from $19.99 (for a 5 sheet strip cut personal shredder) through to $1,119 (for a Rexel 250+ auto feed shredder). The commercial shredder range then extends through to thousands of dollars.

Consideration needs to be given to the type of material you are going to shred, whether it’s held together using paperclips and staples, and the volume of material.

Labour considerations

The purchase price of your paper shredder will generally determine the shredding capacity, size of cut and any additional features (credit card shredding, etc). What the price does not take into consideration is the time lost:

  • sorting the paper (removing staples, clips, manilla folders);
  • processing sheets through the shredder;
  • fixing paper jams;
  • shredder maintenance (oil, service, repairs);
  • disposing of the waste, and;
  • cleaning the area around the machine.

Space considerations

Not only do you need to consider where to place a paper shredder but you will need to consider what to do with the shredded paper that is ready for disposal.

Shredded paper can be more than twenty times the volume of non-shredded paper.

Rough calculations would conclude that a single 240L waste bin of shredded paper will hold approximately 3 reams (1,500 sheets) of non-shredded paper*. A Shred-X secure container will hold up to 80kgs of paper which is approximately 35 reams of paper.


Occupational Health and Safety

The blades of all paper shredders present a potential risk to employees. Proper education is required especially when an employee feels obliged to fix a paper jam.

Shredding large volumes of paper can release a significant amount of particulates (dust) to the air. This can cause discomfort for employees but also increase maintenance costs in air filtration systems. These paper, plastic and metal dust fragments can also create a potential fire hazard in office and warehouse environments.

Fire hazard

Shredded paper can be more than twenty times the volume and is far more combustible than stacks of non-shredded material.

Paper, plastic and metal dust fragments that are thrown into the office environment also pose a potential fire hazard.



A paper shredder located by a desk, printer or photocopier allows for instant destruction. An employee knows instantly that the material needing to be destroyed is in fact destroyed. However when time is scarce or the paper shredder is under repair, employees have a tendency to take the easier option and dispose of confidential information in general waste bins which put your business at risk.

In summary if concerns about privacy protection, new privacy laws and identity theft has sent you out to buy a paper shredder you may want to rethink that decision.

Not only is using Shred-X the most convenient and economical shredding solution, it is the best way to protect your company in the face of strict privacy laws.


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