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How to destroy documents, files, or other sensitive paper-based materials?

Since the origin of mankind, the language was one of the best steps that allow humans to become the apex predator of the world, and an even more needed application that came with evolution was the invention of writing; ever since then the human culture and civilization change forever. Already in ancient times, there was a need to have a physical registration that collects transactions, ownership of land, and other businesses and legal activities. Even now that need remains active after thousands of years; be it in personal or working affairs, many documents contain important information that needs to be saved.

On the other side, there is not only the need of registering the activities and transactions but also eventually those saved files will reach a large quantity, and maintain a physical copy of everything will become an issue as a result of the limited space available to occupy. Of course, although the need for space compared to ancient times has changed a lot, between rock tablets and the currently used paper, once the documents reach a certain threshold the space needed will also be large. For that reason is born the need to eliminate a portion of those documents or other paper-based materials so it can be released some space.

The obvious purpose is to make more places to save new archives, but the more important reason both in personal and business’s paperwork is that very often these files contain sensitive information. This type of information includes from banks or credit card statements, receipts, and even archives that contain information about the business's clients; all of it can be used by criminals to commit fraud in yours or your company's name. It is that reason why is so important to execute a précises procedure that destroys those types of documents without leaving any remnant with readable information.

How is the best way to destroy sensitive documentation?

Depending on your current need, it can be chosen between doing it yourself using home-made means or, if it is for your company, some businesses specialize in destroying these types of documentation. Like Shredding Washington DC companies that offer their services to get rid of them in your stead at an affordable price. Of course, in the case of these specialist companies, they also ensure that the process is done following the required safety regulations and the destruction of the files so it cannot recover any data from them; that way, your company can be protected from information stealing.

Usually, these Shredding Washington DC service companies also provide you with some sort of certificate of destruction that legally ensures that the procedures have been done successfully and the information on those files is not available anymore no matter what. Also, some utilize the paper-based materials resulting from the process to be recycled, doing a good deed for the environment at the time that ensures your company's information safety.

Using these Shredding Washington DC services with regularity is a good security measure to protect your clients’ information and also saving a lot of space from the archive storage leaving it available for the new business operations. Also, can save you and your company’s personnel the effort of destructing the files yourself, allowing you to use that energy into more important and urgent businesses. Besides, doing it personally could leave openings for the information to be stolen because it was not destroyed right. Without mentioning that some home-made procedures could affect your health.

What other means are there to destroy sensitive paper-based materials?

Some have little scale businesses that cannot afford the services or are impeded somehow from having access to a specialized company like Shredding Washington DC companies. Some alternatives can be done easily by oneself while taking safety measures both in the protection of your health and to ensure the destruction of the files not leaving any piece readable. These methods are:

  1. Shredding the files personally

Some shredders can be bought with a range of prices according to their features of cut. Which also allows it to be classified in security levels from the thinness of the resulting pieces. Although it would not be equal to the work of a Shredding Washington DC company’s service, it is still being a common and efficient method.

The procedure is easy, once the shredder is gotten, especially a crosscutting one instead of a basic strip-cut shredder, you could destroy your documents anytime just putting it in the device's mouth. This is a common choice in some companies and the crosscut is the most recommended because some models can make strips of 1/32 times the size of an inch, even less, which prevents those with bad intentions to reassemble the documents and stole the information. Also, the resulting pieces have to be separated into different bags that could be disposed of in the garbage; it is best if is on the same day that it will be picked up.

  1. Burn the files

Another choice to destroy the documents and any other paper-based material is using fire to burn it to ashes. Some people chose to use a fireplace, grills, a lighter, even a fire pit for larger quantities of files. Of course, this method can be illegal to do openly, so be careful of checking your city regulations before trying this out. Anyway, if you choose this alternative, you should remember to search in the ashes for any piece that did not burn completely; and light the fire again if there is. Also, you should remember to take safety measures to control the fire.


The safety destruction of sensitive information is an important step to ensure the security of both your business and clients, even your personal information. The best choice is to seek professional service providers like a Shredding Washington DC company, which can do the job and certify the destruction of the files securely and legally accepted. Without mentioning the recycling of the materials.

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