The Complete Guide for Document Shredding Services

This guide explains everything you need to know about shredding confidential papers safely and securely.  If you have more questions or need to shred documents, give FileShred a call.

Table of Contents for This Guide

  • We define What Paper Shredding Is
  • What documents need to be shredded
  • What Does A Shredding Service Do
  • We Explain The Different Types of Paper Shredding Services
  • How much does document shredding cost
  • A Certificate of Destruction, What is It, Why Do I Need It
  • How does Shredding differ from paper recycling?
  • What is certified shredding? Why do I need It?

What is paper shredding?

Paper shredding is the use of a mechanical device to destroy documents so the information on them is no longer readable.  The process allows for the secure dispose of old or unwanted confidential documents at home or in the office. You can destroy residential or business documents yourself with a paper shredding machine or hire a professional paper shredding company to do the shredding for you.

Types of Shredders

As well as size and capacity, shredders are classified according to the method they use; and the size and shape of the shreds they produce.

Strip-cut Shredders – use rotating knives to cut narrow strips of paper. The shredder contains a single set of blade to cut paper documents in one direction.

Cross-cut Shredders – use two contra-rotating blades to cut the papers in multiple directions which results in small paper particles.

Disintegrators – repeatedly cut the paper at random with rotating knives in a drum until the particles are small enough to pass through a screen.

Hammermills – shred, tear, beat, and grind material until it is small enough to pass through the screen.

Pierce-and-tear – are shredders that have rotating blades that pierce the paper and then tear it apart.

What Documents Need To Be Shredded

The easy answer is any piece of paper that has any personal or private information on them. The fact is better than half of all the documents you receive or create have some information on them that privacy laws require they be destroyed in a manner that makes then information not accessible or otherwise cannot be reconstructed. That means shredding. Since the majority of documents you deal with have private of confidential information on them shred them all when they are being disposed of.

What Does A Shredding Service Do

Paper shredding companies shred confidential documents for you instead of shredding documents with a small purchased shredder. The company destroys the documents you release to them with an industrial shredder that processes thousands of pounds of paper per hour.

Types of Document Shredding Services

  1. One-time or Purge shredding
  2. Ongoing or Scheduled shredding
  3. On-site shredding
  4. Off-site shredding
  5. Drop-off shredding
  6. Shred events


One-time or Purge Shredding

One-time or purge paper shredding is for companies or individuals that choose to have documents destroyed on an as needed basis.  For example, yearly clean-out of old files and records. The one-time purge shredding service is also great when you want to shred large amounts of documents. This service does not require any long term contracts and saves you lots of time.

Ongoing or Scheduled Shredding

You can implement a shredding program by hiring a paper destruction company to shred your documents regularly. With this recurring service, locked collection containers are provided for your office where you discard your document waste. The paper and files are stored and protected until your service date. On your service date, a company like FileShred will unlock the containers, remove and shred the documents. Your service can be scheduled on a regular basis, such as weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. You can determine the frequency of service with your shredding provider.

The Collection Containers

A scheduled document shredding service is ideal when a company or organization wants a way at their office to dispose of business papers daily safely and securely.  All you have to do is deposit papers in the locked containers provided whenever they are no longer needed.  Statistics show that 45% of documents that are printed in an office are discarded the same day. The lockable collection containers are available in all kinds of sizes and capacities, so there is always a suitable container for your workplace.

Bins – Are plastic containers on wheels with a locking lid. The lid has a paper slot to push documents through. The bins come in three sizes, 96-gallon that hold 300 pounds of paper, 65-gallon that holds 200 pounds of paper, and 32-gallon that holds 100 pounds of paper.

Consoles – Are stationary containers that are rectangular in shape that comes in heights from 24 inches to 37 inches. The consoles are locked and have a slot to deposit documents. Many people prefer these collection containers because they look more like a piece of furniture in an office.

Shredinator – Is a thin stationary plastic container with a locked lid. The lid has a slot to deposit papers. The shredinator comes in heights from 24, 27 and 30 inches. Shredinators are great for locations that have limited space.

On-site shredding

When you feel more comfortable witnessing your papers being destroyed, you can hire a mobile shredding company.  On-site shredding can be used for one-time or ongoing document destruction services. How does this work?  A truck outfitted with an industrial shredder will park at your location.  The staff of your service provider will collect all your confidential documents and place them in a bin and moved to the truck. Your papers are immediately shredded at your location. You can witness the process as it happens.  Many companies like FileShred will allow you to watch the shredding process on a monitor on the shredding truck.

Off-site shredding

With this service, the company collects the documents that you want to shred and places them in locked bins. The bins are then loaded onto a box truck.  This can be done for scheduled or one-time shredding services. Once the truck completes its route, it drives to a secure destruction facility where the documents will be unloaded and shredded by a large industrial shredder.

Some people will never get use to the idea of letting someone take away their confidential documents without them being shredded immediately. Because you don’t know when your documents will actually be shredded.

Some companies prefer off-site shredding when their location does not have the room to park a shredding truck or can’t tie up their loading dock while a truck shreds papers.

Drop-off shredding

With drop-off shredding, you collect all your papers and bring them yourself to a location to have them shredded. The cost for this service is usually the pound.  You will bring them directly to a location that will shred them there or to a retail location that will collect them in a locked bin that will be removed and shredded at a later date.  Drop-off shredding is preferred by people that have small amounts of paper to destroy.  Some people don’t like the retail aspect of drop-off shredding because the papers are not shredded there so you don’t know when they are destroyed.

Shredding Events

Paper shredding companies help companies, organizations and municipalities organize and host shred events in their area. These events serve many purposes and most of the time guests can shred documents for free. The free shredding events are often consumer-oriented and targeted for shredding relatively small quantities of personal information.

What is a Certificate of Destruction?

Paper destruction companies should provide you with a Certificate of Destruction documenting that your material has been securely destroyed. This certificate is proof that you shredded your documents and who did it. Privacy laws require you to keep a record of the documents you destroy. This document contains information about the volume of documents shredded on a particular date, where they were destroyed, and who destroyed them. When your company is getting audited, you can show the certificate as proof of compliance.

How Much does Document Shredding Cost?

Some companies charge per container and others charge per pound. The cost of paper shredding depends on several factors, such as the type of service, frequency of service, the number of documents you want to shred.  Prices for paper shredding vary by company, so we recommend that any company you are considering explain their pricing. Also, some companies charge additional fees and surcharges so make sure you ask if they do.

How does Shredding differ from Paper Recycling?

Paper shredding’s main focus is to destroy paper records. Recycling’s main focus is to reuse paper waste to make other paper products.  When you dispose of documents for recycling, your papers will not get the same security treatment as paper shredding. This means anyone handling your papers will have access to your information.  With shredding your documents are destroyed first then recycled.  After shredding, the material gets pressed in large paper bales so it can be transported to paper mills.  At the mills, the material will be processed back to a paper pulp so it can be used to make other paper products.

What Is Certified Shredding? Why Do I Need It?

Can you trust a paper destruction company with your sensitive information? Every shredding company will tell you that they shred documents safely and securely. But how can you be sure that your documents are safe? Look for paper shredding companies that are officially and independently certified for paper destruction. A well-known and reputable certification is the AAA certification by the National Association for Information Destruction or NAID. NAID sets the standards for the information destruction industry. NAID auditors regularly check destruction service providers who are AAA certified for mobile and plant-based shredding operations to make sure they adhere to their strict policies and procedures. To find a NAID AAA certified shredding company in your area go to


Every individual and business needs shredding services. The question is when and how often. This guide’s goal is to give you an overview of document shredding. For more information give FileShred a call to speak to one of our experts.