If you don’t dispose of confidential waste in a responsible manner then it could lead to you or your business being fined a large amount of money. In the worst-case scenario, it could lead to identity theft and security breaches.
This guide outlines exactly what confidential waste management and disposal is, who needs to follow it, why it’s beneficial to do so and some alternatives to shredding, including the benefits of using a professional waste disposal company like Devon Contract Waste.
Confidential waste is any waste that contains or shows personal information. This could be a name, address, bank details and contact numbers and it can be in a variety of form factors. It could be anything from a large address book of contact details and bank information to returns labels containing addresses or an old invoice or contract quote.
The important thing to keep in mind is that confidential information can be on a range of types of waste. It doesn’t just have to be paper but it could also include old hard drives and discs, old electronic devices and end of line products that are no longer in use.
The necessity for confidential waste disposal is driven by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016/679 which is an EU regulation, adopted in the UK, outlining how confidential information ought to be handled, protected and destroyed.
Article 5 of the GDPR sets out seven key principles:
Lawfulness, fairness and transparency: Processing lawfully, fairly and transparently in relation to individuals
Purpose limitation: Staying in line with the original purpose
Data minimisation: Limiting data to what is necessary and adequate
Accuracy: Erasing out of date information and keep relevant information up to date
Storage limitation: Storing only for reasonable lengths of time
Integrity and confidentiality: Having appropriate security and protection measures
Accountability: Taking full responsibility for handling and disposing of confidential information.
The types of organisations and businesses that may wish to ensure their confidential waste are adequately disposed of and recycled include:
Law firms that deal with a range of personal information
Banks that deal with financial information
Health and social care settings that house medical records
Schools that have a lot of personal information at hand
However, there are no limits to who may wish to engage a confidential waste management company in the manner outlined by the GDPR. It’s good practice for anybody as it keeps vital information and data safe from anybody who might otherwise misuse it.
Confidential information must be kept confidential. Even though a piece of information may seem obsolete to you, it may be very personal and revealing to another person or their friends and family.
Security Breaches: Specifically if any security information isn’t disposed of correctly, criminals could get their hands on this crucial information and damage or steal from your property with greater ease. Whether this is passwords, correspondence or even security system information, such as instructions that give away model types, they all carry with them a security risk.
Legal Obligations: Sometimes, such as when an agreement is made between two parties, it’s a legal obligation to dispose of any contact between the two parties. This is frequently the case for law firms that continually shred their documents and case files. It could also be the case in instances where a Non-Disclosure Agreement has been signed.
Identity Theft: With all of their advances, the internet and technology have encouraged innovation in terms of theft and online crime. Nowadays, it’s relatively simple to pretend to be somebody else on the internet and this is a serious risk. If the wrong person gets their hands on confidential information, either they’ll use it or they’ll sell that information to somebody else who will. A good way to ensure that nobody is able to impersonate you online and cause havoc is to dispose of confidential waste appropriately simply.
Organisation: Proper confidential waste disposal is also important because it’ll keep your office or storage system much more organised. Rather than having personal information getting mixed up in other records, getting rid of it in an appropriate manner will give you the peace of mind you deserve!
Whilst a shredder is a very useful piece of office equipment, perhaps yours has broken or you only need to temporarily dispose of confidential waste as a one-off. If this is the case then there are some alternative solutions to shredding:
Hand Shredding: It may seem backwards in today’s day and age but documents can always be ‘shredded’ by hand if necessary. Fail in that then you may want to use scissors, especially a pair that are patterned or oscillating as this will make it more difficult to put the pieces back together to discern the confidential information.
Burning: It’s a bit of a drastic measure but burning is always an option. If you’re having a BBQ or a patio fire any time soon then confidential documents could always be used as kindling. However, burning should only really be a last resort as this involves health and safety risks.
Compost: People forget that paper is compostable because, after all, it is made of wood! What better way to give back to nature than to replenish your compost heap with paper. It’ll certainly be a healthy change from food waste and it’s very unlikely that any trespassers will want to sift through insects and worms to get at any confidential information!
Soaking: Water is also very soluble. Exposing it to water will slowly turn it into mush. Much like compost, this is a good way to get rid of confidential information in a passive manner.
Get Creative: There really are endless possibilities when it comes to disposing of confidential information. For example, it could be used as shredded bedding for small pets or as paper mache for children and for seed pots if you’re into your gardening.
Local Recycling Centre: A great option is to have your waste collected and recycled by a professional waste removal service who can then dispose of any personal information and records completely securely and confidentially.
Some waste Confidential Waste Management companies, such as Devon Contract Waste, seek to help you with your business operations by collecting and disposing of your confidential waste in an extremely secure manner. We can provide you with lockable cabinets and skips for safe storage until they’re collected by one of our DBS-checked drivers who use secure vehicles to transport these documents.
More Cost-Effective: Rather than having to buy an expensive shredder and having to maintain it as well as wasting valuable time actually shredding documents, a waster disposal company is a great alternative. This is especially the case given that companies like Devon Contract Waste offer lockable cabinets and skips, removing a lot of the storage issues that companies often run into.
Environmentally Friendly: We’re also very focused on how to better impact the planet. It’s estimated that shredding and recycling paper uses 65% less energy, 50% less water than making new paper and results in 72% less pollution during reconstitution. Choosing to use a waste disposal company that’s focused on, and committed to, more eco-friendly waste management is an excellent way for your company or business to reduce its carbon footprint.
Other Services: If you choose the right company, they’ll be able to provide a whole range of services. Devon Contract Waste are able to dispose of paper information as well as electronic information. If you have any hard drives or old computers with sensitive or personal information stored on them, then we’re able to dispose of this as well.
In fact, you could integrate confidential waste disposal into a broader waste disposal plan. Given that we offer a range of recycling services and a variety of waste containers, we could be a one-stop solution for all your recycling requirements.
If you have any further questions about confidential waste disposal, or if you’d like to know more about the other services we offer, from waste containers to equipment hire and recycled products, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 01823 215 483 today!