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Did You Know That Shredding Is Environmentally Friendly?

Posted on 27 August 2015 by Total Secure Shredding

Perhaps the number one reason why most companies choose to shred unwanted documents is to enhance and maintain security. What you may not know is that document shredding isn’t just a great way to improve paper reduction processes in a company and boost internal security – it also offers crucial environmental sustainability. According to research conducted by the environmental protection agency, and various other sources, the environmental impact of shredding documents could be tremendous.

shredding paper

Our environment plays a crucial role in the future of our society, which is why it’s so important that we do everything we can to protect and nourish it. More corporations and private citizens than ever before have come to recognize the need to build sustainable workspaces, lifestyle, and homes, and now they are beginning to realize that shredding has a vital part to play.

Why Is Shredding So Useful?

Often, when people consider the benefits of paper shredding, they do so in relation to security – coming up with ways to prevent the robbery of sensitive information. However, paper shredding is also helpful to the environment. First of all, most shredding companies utilize systems that are “green”, ensuring that shredded material is recycled and re-used in useful formats. For instance, shred paper, after destruction,  could transform into new consumer goods such as paper towels and plates, saving the environment by reducing the number of trees cut down for new materials.

Organizations that choose to take part in document shredding can assist environmental sustainability by reducing the negative impact of waste on the environment. Paper thrown away instead of being recycled can build up in landfills, or may need to be destroyed using methods that rely upon environmentally-damaging fuels. By shredding documents, we protect the trees, earth, and atmosphere.

The Statistics of Shredding

Saving forest land is one of the many different benefits that recycling can have for the environment. The process of producing paper in the first place uses significant amounts of water and energy – pumping extra pollutants into the atmosphere. However, recycling a single ton of paper results in the use of 65% less energy, 50% less water, and 72% less pollution.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, when a person throws a single piece of paper into the trash, that paper becomes around 33% of the municipal solid waste stream. When you take into account the fact that each office worker uses an average of 10,000 sheets of paper each year, you can imagine the impact that such waste is having on our environment.

Within the United States alone, each individual produces just under five pounds of paper-related garbage every day. This waste moves into landfills where it piles up over time, creating eye-sores for the country. The good news is that despite this significant waste, many businesses are now committing themselves to the concepts of basic recycling.

Recycling is a great way of protecting the environment – but simply recycling paper by placing it in bins for other agencies to collect poses a significant risk to many businesses. Documentation including important or personal details can remain on papers that are improperly recycled, and if the right people do not handle those papers, they could provide the perfect opportunity for robbery or identity theft. As any of the personal information that a company handles is their responsibility, misuse could lead to serious litigation against that business. With that in mind, both shredding and recycling paper is perhaps the best way for companies across the globe to improve their impact on the environment, while maintaining sustainable security for sensitive documents.

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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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Closed for Christmas Week 2012

Posted on 22 December 2012 by Total Secure Shredding

Hi Folks,

We will be closed Christmas Week from Monday 12/24/12 through Friday 12/28/12.

However, we will be open Saturday after Christmas 12/29/12.

We will be open again on Monday 12/31/12 (New Year’s Eve Day) but closed on New Year’s Day 1/01/13.

So, here’s a summary:

  • Closed Monday 12/24/12
  • Closed Tuesday 12/25/12
  • Closed Wednesday 12/26/12
  • Closed Thursday 12/27/12
  • Closed Friday 12/28/12
  • Open Saturday 12/29/12
  • Closed Sunday 12/30/12
  • Open Monday 12/31/12
  • Closed Tuesday 1/01/12
  • Back to normal Wednesday 1/02/12

All phone calls roll over to my Cell Phone so I may be answering calls intermittently throughout the week.

Happy Holidays,

Mike
Head Shredding Guy
Total Secure Shredding
(619) 295-5474

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When to Shred Your Income Tax Return

Posted on 01 November 2012 by Total Secure Shredding

How Long Should I Keep My Income Tax Records?

by David W. Taklender, CPA

Every so often, a client will ask me how long they should retain their tax documents.

I usually respond by stating “Probably not as long as you think.”

I smile when I say this because I would usually think of the client who once told me she still had her and her family’s tax returns from twenty years earlier and wanted to know if it was finally safe to throw them away!

The rules on document retention vary depending on whether you are talking about taxes  (Federal, State, Income, Employment), insurance policies, bankruptcies, creditors, etc.

For purposes of this column and based on my background, I will give you guidelines concerning your income tax documents.

According to the Internal Revenue Service:

The length of time you should keep a document depends on the action, expense, or event the document records. Generally, you must keep your records that support an item of income or deductions on a tax return until the period of limitations for that return run out.

The period (or statute) of limitations is a period of time that governs two events:

  1. the taxpayer’s ability to file/amend their tax return to claim a credit/refund, and
  2. a window of time where you are eligible for an examination or audit and the possibility of being assessed additional tax.

So, the first part of the answer would be that you should hold your tax documents until the statute of limitations for that tax year expires.

Sounds simple, now we just need to know how long that is, right? What is the number?

Nothing can ever be that easy when dealing with congress, so please….walk with me just a bit further.

The second part of our answer, in order to determine the statute of limitations, is that all-time favorite response, “it depends.”

It really does depend because there exists a “grey area” here in the periods depending on three circumstances,

  1. the tax agency you are filing with;
  2. what “type” of taxes you are filing; and
  3. what the situation/event is.

Answering these three circumstances one by one…

FIRST: The IRS oftentimes will have a different statute of limitations than some state taxing agencies. For example, California has a four-year statute compared to the IRS, which at its lowest level has a three-year statute of limitations. So we have to determine if we are talking about State tax returns or Federal (IRS) tax returns.

SECOND: In this article we are talking income tax returns. But for other tax returns, such as payroll taxes, the retention period may vary. For example, the IRS period of limitations for payroll taxes is different from the one for income taxes (four years vs. three years, respectively).

THIRD: Different events can extend the statute for additional years, and a situation like fraud can extend it indefinitely – meaning the return may be examined, and additional taxes may be imposed at any time in the future.

The following represents a list from the Internal Revenue Service of the various periods of limitations that pertaining to your income tax returns, and unless otherwise stated, the years refer to the period after the return was filed:

  1. If you file a timely filed return, or one where you owe additional tax and situations (2), (3) and (4) below, do not apply to you; then keep records for 3 years.
  2. If you do not report income that you should report, and it is more than 25% of the gross income shown on your return; then keep records for 6 years.
  3. If you file a fraudulent return; then keep records indefinitely.
  4. If you do not file a return at all; then keep records indefinitely.
  5. If you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return; then keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original returns or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
  6. If you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities (Section 1244 stock) or a bad debt deduction; then keep records for 7 years.
  7. Regarding payroll taxes, you should keep all employment tax records for at least 4 years after the date that the tax become due or is paid, whichever is later.

NOTE: Regarding conformity issues at the state level, the California Franchise Tax Board makes clear on their website that an extended statute period, beyond the standard four years, may apply if your federal return is under audit.

Finally, when your records are no longer needed for tax purposes, do not discard them until you check to see if you have to keep them longer for other purposes. As briefly mentioned earlier, you insurance company or creditors may require you to keep them longer than the IRS does.

If you have any questions concerning document retention or are interested in a consultation for your business or personal tax situation, please feel free to email me at david@dtakcpa.com or visit my website at www.dtakcpa.com.

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Who’s Doing Your Shredding?

Posted on 19 September 2012 by Total Secure Shredding

Goodwill DefinitionYes, I actually do care…

About making sure your documents are properly shredded to your satisfaction.

Does that mean others who sell shredding services don’t care?

Well I’ll let you decide.

Are you giving your documents to a business or organization that only does shredding?

There are quite a few places in San Diego where you can simply drop off your documents with the expectation that at some point in the future they will be successfully shredded.

One type of business you may find offering shredding drop off  are “postal stores.”

Typically, these stores provide you the opportunity to drop off your sensitive documents with the promise that they will be stored securely and that a shredding company will come by one day in the future for shredding.

There are also very large national  ”charities” that allow you to drop off documents for eventual shredding.

But here are the things you MUST consider:

  • How long are your documents going to sit there before shredding?
  • Are the documents being stored securely?
  • Who exactly has access to your documents?
  • Who has been subcontracted to shred your documents?
  • Where exactly is the location of eventual shredding?

In my mind, these are some of the most important questions you should be asking when it comes to taking your documents for shredding. And honestly, if you have to ask, I would consider going somewhere else!

But there is one more question:

Is a business or charitable organization that provides a variety of services not related to handing and destroying sensitive documents a good fit for your document shredding situation?

Is it just me or do the dots not quite connect that you would, at the same time, drop off some old clothes at a charity along with a box of sensitive documents for shredding? I for one do not care who may or may not be trying on an old pair of pants that I’ve donated. But the same most certainly CAN NOT be said for my old check books, tax returns, and bank statements!

Is it just me or am I the only one who just is a bit skeptical of the person behind the desk at the local postal store. Hell, I’m not even sure I trust them to get my package to its final destination much less hold onto my sensitive documents until some un-vetted shredding company decides to swing by.

Maybe you’re just not as paranoid as I am when it comes to shredding sensitive documents… 

If that’s the case, then my Shredding Service is most definitely NOT for you!

But if you’re just a fraction as paranoid as I am, then my service is the most perfect solution you’ll find just about anywhere.

Here is what we DON’T DO:

  • We DON’T sell packaging
  • We DON’T mail stuff
  • We DON’T sell P.O. Boxes
  • We DON’T sell office supplies
  • We DON’T sell used clothing
  • We DON’T sell used furniture
  • We DON’T sell greeting cards
  • And we sure as Hell DON’T get government tax subsidies

Here is what we DO:

  • We Shred
  • We PAY taxes

Not only is shredding all we do (consequently it’s the most important thing we do) we actually allow you to watch everything get shredded right before you eyes.

We are even the only place where you can request to watch all your documents get cross-cut shredded for even extra security. And you can be damn sure I cross-cut my own personal stuff when it comes to check books, tax documents, bank statement, and other HIGHLY SENSITIVE DOCUMENTS. I even run my stuff through the cross-cut shredder twice just to make sure I got everything and the pieces are extra small. Like I mentioned before, I’m really paranoid!

So if you’re looking for a shredding company that takes handing of your documents seriously, you’ve found the right place.

Your friend,

Mike
Head Shredding Guy

P.S. My comments about who pays taxes and who doesn’t is most definitely directed at the multitude of  ”non-profits” that have decided to delve into the for-profit world of shredding. That a “charity” would use its beneficial tax status and their relative high regard in society to artificially lower prices in order to “compete” is reprehensible. But if that wasn’t enough, they then employ individuals with disabilities where the state will subsidize a portion of their hourly wages; again to unfairly compete in an industry where there is vigorous for-profit competition. This is more than reprehensible, this is the height of moral depravity. So, yes, shredding non-profits, and you know who you are, as a small local business that has to compete against you and your government subsidies, I find your business deplorable. The comment section is open below!

 

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