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Types of Paper Shredders

Posted on 06 August 2015 by Total Secure Shredding

Which shredder is right for your family or company?

A 2015 episode of the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul features paper shredding.

Ambulance chasing attorney Jimmy suspects the nursing home where many of his clients live of egregiously overcharging its elderly residents. As he makes these accusations to the facility manager, he notices a secretary in the back shredding documents. That night, he goes to the trash, recovers a huge armload of paper strips   and has his gifted brother reassemble them. While this is TV, conceivably, a scenario like this it could be done, particularly since the clueless nursing home used a cheap strip cut shredder. Compared to a pierce and tear cross cut mobile shredding truck, the standard shredding equipment used by shredding companies, reconstructing strip cut shred paper seems like kindergarten work.

Not familiar with paper shredding options like these? If you’re in a sensitive business (medical, legal) or want to keep your identity protected, you should be. The FBI’s number one recommendation for protecting identity is keeping your social security, bank account, credit card and other personal identification numbers protected. Consider the following features when evaluating paper shredding options that protect all this and possibly even your business’s trade secrets and your clients’ privacy and personal information, too!


Paper Shredders by Cut Size and Shape

Shredder manufacturers differentiate paper shredders by the size and type of cut they create.

  • Strip cut shredders cut paper into long strips, which conceivably can be reassembled by a very patient person as in the example above.

  • Cross cut shredders cut one sheet diagonally, turn it 90 degrees and cut it again so that the paper becomes 300+ diamond shaped pieces. The smaller the pieces the higher the security level.

    paper shredding

  • Pierce and tear cross cut mobile shredders are the most popular method of shredding among shredding companies. Pierce and tear shredders use counter-rotating shafts and circular blades to peirce and teach each paper, reducing it to small, uneven pieces. Paper recyclers actually prefer paper shredded by pierce and tear cross cut mobile shredders, because the particle size creates less dust and is easier to process.

Personal and small business use shredders tend toward the simpler end of paper shredders: often over-trash-can-models. These models sell for around $100 at the office supply stores. Large corporations, legal and medical businesses as well as government entities must use complex shredders to keep sensitive information safe. These shredders can cost $2,000 or more, but they’re crucial to the smooth functioning of the business. Businesses small and large can often benefit from using a secure shredding company for all of their shredding needs. This 5 minute paper shredding audit will help you decide how a secure shredding company can help you.


Paper Shredding Service

While your business can purchase a paper shredder, security is compromised somewhat when more employees enter into the shredding process. Office shredders can take employee time and require maintenance as well. A shredding service not only provides an independent, auditable Certificate of Destruction, it provides pick up and recycling services, saving you and employees precious time. Often, shredding service professional never even handles the documents. “Chain of custody” is established once your company’s representative signs the material over to the shredding service technician.

Smart Shredding Prevents Identity Theft

Just recently (July 2015), the Federal Trade Commission publicly accused identity theft protection company Life Lock of violating a 2010 settlement by continuing to make deceptive claims about its identity theft protection services, as well as by failing to make changes required to protect user data. Read all about action against LifeLock on the FTC website here.

LifeLock’s commercials pop up on television, radio and Internet regularly.  Their 2014 earnings amounted to $129.7 million, an increase of 21% from 2013’s figures. Shouldn’t this “industry leader” in identity theft have this process down? The truth is, if consumers and business owners don’t make an effort to protect their private information and account numbers, there isn’t much a Life Lock or its competitors can do.

Homeowners with small volumes of bank statements or social security statements they want to destroy do well with a shredder at home. Businesses with a larger volume of potentially sensitive information do the best when depending on a shredding service to instantly destroy documents. If you’re interested in having your documents disposed of not only securely but conveniently, contact Total Secure Shredding, a San Diego Woman Owned Business certified by WBENC, today. In business since 2006, we’ve become experts in securely disposing not only of documents, but x-ray slides, hard-drives, CDs, DVDs and more! Check us out on Facebook, too!

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5,000 Sheets of Paper Shredded for Only $2,135.65

Posted on 13 August 2010 by Total Secure Shredding

3 Mistakes Made When Deciding to Purchase a Home/Small Office Paper Shredding Machine.

Time and time again I get customers down at the shredding facility who complain about how they burned out one, two, or even three shredders trying to get all their shredding complete. Even if you could get away with buying a shredder for $40 each, that still potentially comes out to $120 in burned out shredders.

Here’s what I’ve determined are the three common mistakes people make when buying an office shredder.

Mistake #1: Miscalculate the size of their job

Just about every last paper shredder you can buy at the store is not designed to handle more than about 100 or so sheets of paper PER DAY – and that’s only if you get into the $150 to $300 price range.

These Paper Shredders are designed only for extremely low volumes of paper shredding.

Basically, we are talking about shredding the stuff that comes in the daily mail.  Anything more than that and you might as well pack a lunch because you’re going to have a pretty long and frustrating time investment ahead of you.

Mistake #2: Assume “Theoretical Throughput” equals to “Working Throughput”

I find it extremely comical when I see a paper shredder that advertises 8 sheets of paper per pass and sells for only $69.95. I’m sure some technician working for the manufacturer was able to get 8 sheets of paper to pass through the shredder and successfully shred in one pass.

However, you must be aware that this shredder was not designed to continually shred 8 sheets at a time at a continuous rate for a very long time. In order to get that kind of throughput, you’re going to have to pay a lot more for a shredder.

I have a “small” industrial shredder at our facility that can take somewhere between 70 to 80 sheets per pass and can keep up that pace for 8 hours a day. But this machine runs upwards of $40,000 new. In theory, I could buy 10 of these 8 sheets at a time shredders and get the same throughput for just about $700.

But, as you can see… there’s a massive disconnect from theory and working throughput when it comes to these store bought machines. Buying 10 of these office shredders just wouldn’t cut it for my business (pardon the pun).

50% Throughput Rule: In my best estimation, your best bet for determining working throughput is about 50% of what is stated by the manufacturer.

Mistake #3: Don’t understand “Duty Cycle”

Every paper shredder you can buy from the store has a “Duty Cycle.” Otherwise known as an On/Off run time. This is the amount of time that that shredder can run continuously before it must be shut off.

From a sample of 12 paper shredders, I found an average on time of 9.34 minutes with a following off time of 60.84 minutes.

That means, on average, you can get about 10 minutes of continuous shredding before you have to stop and let the machine cool down for about an hour.

Remember that shredder for $69.95. You can only continuously run it for 2 minutes before you have to turn it off for 30 minutes.

As you can see, if you have a large amount that needs shredding, you’re going to have to spend most of your time letting the machine cool down as opposed to actual shredding and that will lead to a very long project indeed.

Here’s my research:

I recently pulled the specification on 12 common Home/Small Office Shredders and performed some analysis on what it would take to shred 5000 sheets of paper (1 case of copy paper) when using the correct Duty Cycle, the listed number of sheets per pass, and 10 passes per minute.

These shredders ranged in price from $69.95 to $299.99.

I also ran the same simulation using 50% of the manufacturers listed throughput per pass and 5 passes per minute (I reduced the number of passes per minute in order to take into account staple removal and other prep work) – which is what I think is closer to reality.

Here’s what I found:

VERY BEST: The very best shredding machine would shred 5,000 sheets of paper in 1.38 hours. It would’ve taken the same shredder 5.52 hours to shred those same 5,000 sheets if I applied the 50% Throughput Rule and five passes per minute. The listed price for this shredder was $249.99.

THE WORST: The shredding machine that performed the worst under this simulation shredded 5,000 sheets in 66.17 hours – and that’s before I apply the 50% throughput rule. When I apply the 50% throughput rule and limit the number of passes per minute to only five, it took a staggering 266.17 hours to shred the 5,000 sheets. And this wasn’t the cheapest shredder I looked at! The price for this shredder was $89.99.

Now here’s the real kicker…

If you were to pay someone $8.00 an hour to shred 5,000 sheets of paper, that 266.17 hours translates into $2,135.67 when you include the cost of the shredder along with sales tax.

The “Very Best” shredder would cost you $66.78 if you paid someone $8.00 an hour along with the cost of the shredder.

In the absolute most perfect world, where the shredder performs at the manufacturers listed specifications and you can pull off ten passes per minute, the cost of 5,000 sheets is still $33.69.

All in all, buying a paper shredding machine for your home or office can be a very logical and cost effective choice if you understand some of the very basic constraints involved in using these machines. However, if your requirements exceed simply shredding just a few sheets of paper a day, you may want to consider your options.

Until next time…

Keep Totally Secure,

Head Shredding Guy
Total Secure Shredding, Inc.

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