Don’t worry if you don’t have a shredder at home; you can still shred confidential documents. I’ll show you numerous alternatives to utilizing a shredder to safely dispose of your secret and private documents in this article.
What Is the Purpose of Document Shredding?
Before we go through the several ways to get rid of documents without using a shredder, it’s vital to go over why we should shred documents in the first place.
After all, are the alternatives truly alternatives if they don’t give the same level of identity theft protection?
The primary purpose for shredding your documents is to safeguard the information printed on them. Shredding, on the other hand, does not guarantee that information will not fall into the wrong hands.
Strip cut and crosscut shredders are the two most common types of shredders. Crosscut shredding cuts in both directions, cutting each strip into several pieces, whereas strip cut shredding shreds each paper in one direction, creating lengthy strips of paper.
While crosscut shredders offer greater security, they also generate more volume (filling your bin faster) and require more maintenance (regular oiling). Both methods have disadvantages, prompting many people to opt for one of the options described below.
Another thing to keep in mind about shredding is that it isn’t infallible. Software can help with “unshredding” documents, which means you don’t have to sit at a desk physically putting thousands of pieces of paper together to acquire your information.
The longer it takes for this procedure to work, the higher the security level of a shredder and the higher the number of shredded documents.
Look for anything that has personally identifiable information when it comes to the types of documents you should be cautious about (PII). This information could include your name, address, phone number, social security number, credit card number, account number, and other personal information.
Signing a Document Anything that contains information that can be traced back to you should be disposed of safely, whether by shredding or another technique.
It’s also a good idea to take extra precautions to avoid mail being stolen before you receive it.
How to Shred Documents Without a Shredder Now that we know the major benefit of shredding, let’s look at some different ways to shred our documents if we don’t have one at home.
1 – Destroy Your Documents by Hand The first, and most labor-intensive, way is to shred your documents by hand. This is not only time-consuming, but it is also unlikely to be as secure as the other options. It is, however, simple to do and requires nothing more than your hands and a little effort.
Make cautious to tear the sensitive parts of the documents into several pieces while shredding by hand. Also, I strongly advise separating the shredded pieces into distinct garbage or recycle bins.
If someone gets access to your trash or recycle bin, they are less likely to find all of the parts of a particular document if you do this.
I’ve done it before with credit cards, but I always make care to separate the pieces of each card into different trash bins that will be emptied at different times (one in the kitchen trash, one in the bathroom, etc.).
2 – Burn Them in a Fire Pit If it’s legal in your location, burning sensitive papers in a fire pit is an easy way to get rid of them without using a shredder. To avoid a large piece flying off mostly intact, rip your documents into smaller pieces and feed them into the flames a little at a time before burning them.
After the fire has been out, make sure the ashes are thoroughly broken up, just in case there are any legible pieces of paper left in the pit.
3 – Compost With Your Coffee, Filters, and Food Composting with your coffee, filters, and food is a more eco-friendly way to get rid of documents without a shredder. Paper decomposes quickly in your compost pile and contributes carbon to the carbon-nitrogen balance.
You’ll get the best results if you break your paper down into little pieces first, much like with the burning approach above. After that, progressively incorporate the paper fragments into your compost. Doing too much at once can throw off the carbon and nitrogen equilibrium.
If you’re composting paper, be sure it’s compostable. Glossy paper, for example, should not be composted since it may contain high levels of harmful compounds.
4 – Use Multi-Cut Scissors Multi-cut scissors are a simple and reasonably inexpensive approach to imitate a shredding machine. These shredding scissors act as a manual shredder by making many cuts at once.
Multi-cut scissors work in the same way that strip-cut shredders do, therefore they don’t offer the same level of security as a crosscut shredder. Consider combining these scissors with one of the other ways described in this article as a starting step.
5 – Soak Them in Water Soaking secret papers in water is another simple way to dispose of them. This procedure does require some patience, but when done correctly, it may be quite effective.
Simply soak your documents in a bucket of water for at least 24 hours to render them unreadable. After soaking, thoroughly combine the paper and water solution to break up the paper. Use a drill with a paint mixer attachment if possible.
Some individuals try to speed up the process by using bleach or other chemicals, but this isn’t essential. Water should be able to accomplish the work on its own if you have enough time.
Drain the water outdoors in your yard when finished, then dispose of the remaining paper pulp.
6 – Order a Shred Day Box from a Local Business Many local businesses offer “shred days” as a service to their consumers. If your bank, credit union, or recycling company offers shredding services on specific days of the year, inquire.
This service is usually supplied for free, so if you’re willing to store your sensitive papers for an extended amount of time, it could be an excellent alternative to explore.
External shredding services are also advantageous because they often give a better quality of shredding. Not only will they shred your documents into smaller pieces, but they will also mix them in larger batches than you would at home, making “unshredding” even more difficult.
7 – Use a Local Paper Shredding Service Just because you don’t have a shredder at home doesn’t mean you can’t securely shred your documents. Using a local document shredding service is a simple option to shredding at home.
To see if your local UPS Store or FedEx offers this service, contact them. There are a lot of recycle places that will do it for you.
Depending on the volume you need to shred, several of these facilities offer this service for a nominal fee per pound, making it more cost effective than using a home shredder.
How to Reduce Paper Shredding (or Paper Disposal in General) When it comes to shredding or disposing of sensitive documents, one thing I’m guilty of is always shredding the entire document. Cutting off the bits of each document that contain sensitive material is an easy technique to reduce the total volume of documents. You’ll be able to shred or dispose of only those parts this way.
The majority of sensitive documents contain a lot of legal jargon that has nothing to do with you. Simply take away the sections of these documents that include your personal information. You can recycle them alongside your other recyclables for everything else.
Going digital whenever possible is even better than the way above. Most financial firms now provide electronic statements, so acquiring your numerous invoices in a paperless format shouldn’t be a problem.
Even our neighborhood supermarket now has a digital-only version of receipts. This is without a doubt the finest way to reduce the need to dispose of sensitive papers.
Final Thoughts While shredding your documents at home is a simple and practical approach to make it more difficult for criminals to obtain your private and sensitive information, there are other options.
Whether you employ a local shredding business or choose for an alternative to shredding, you’re lowering your chances of having your identity stolen. And, coming from personal experience, you don’t want to deal with it.