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Paper Shredder Guide

Why use a shredder?

The fastest growing consumer fraud is identity fraud. Identity fraud happens when a thief creates a "credit clone" of you using your personal information. Identity fraud is easy for perpetrators to commit. These criminals are seldom caught and reversing the damage is difficult.

Is Your Trash Private?

No, according to the U.S. Supreme Court (California v. Greenwood, decided May 16, 1988). The U.S. Supreme Court said that all rights of privacy and ownership are forfeited by your disposal in the trash. The Court also said: "It is common knowledge that garbage is readily accessible to animals, children, scavengers, snoops, and other members of the public."

One solution to help combat identity fraud is by shredding personal documents. These documents can range from detailed bank and credit card information to every-day mail. Personal information can be obtained anywhere your name, social security number, telephone number and address appear.

You should shred:
  • Personal checks
  • Expired Drivers licenses
  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements and receipts
  • Pay stubs showing your income and employer
Please feel free to look at our fraud prevention guide.

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Things to consider before purchasing a shredder.

What will you be shredding?
There are many different types of shredders, and which shredder best meets your needs. Several of the items to consider are:
  • How sensitive is the material you need to shred?
  • What type of paper will you be shredding?
  • How often will you need to use your shredder?
  • Would you like one large shredder, or several smaller shredders?
  • How many sheets do you need to shred at a time?
  • What size of paper do you need to shred?
  • Is space/mobility an issue?
How sensitive is the material you need to shred?
Shredders cut paper into smaller, unrecognizable pieces of paper. Different shredders shred paper into different sizes of paper. The more important the document, the more important it is to use a shredder that will shred the documents into very small pieces.

What type of paper will you be shredding?
Paper comes in many different forms. Some paper is thicker and other paper is thinner, some paper is glossy and other sheets of paper are coarse. You will want to be sure your shredder can handle the paper you will be shredding.

How often will you need to use your shredder?
You will need to take into consideration how often you will be using your paper shredder. Some paper shredders are made only for shredding documents a few times per week, where other shredders can be used continuously. Purchasing a shredder that cannot handle the volume of shredding you need can be very frustrating.

Would you like one large shredder, or several smaller shredders?
Some offices will buy one large shredder for all their shredding needs, where other offices will purchase several smaller shredders and place them throughout the office.

How many sheets do you need to shred at a time?
Different shredders can shred different amounts of paper. Smaller shredders can only handle a few sheets of paper, where larger shredders can shred many sheets of paper at a time. Strip cut shredders can always shred more paper at a time than a cross cut shredder.

What size of paper do you need to shred?
Some shredders are designed to shred small letters, where other shredders can shred newspapers and phone books. You will want to take into consideration what you will need to shred now and what you will be shredding in the future.

Is space/mobility an issue?
Shredders can be very large and heavy. If you need to take a shredder from one office to another, you may want to get a lighter shredder or one with mobile casters. If space is an issue, you may want to consider a thinner shredder that can fit into a tight space.

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What are the different types of shredders?

Strip-Cut Shredders
Strip-cut shredders are known as “strip-cut shredders” because of the thin strips they create as they shred paper. These strips can vary in size from 1/2-inch wide to 1/16-inch wide.

Strip-cut shredders require less cutting than cross-cut shredders. Because less cutting is required, strip-cut shredders are able to shred more documents at a time than cross-cut shredders (of the same class).

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Cross-Cut Shredders
Cross-cut shredders create crisscross cut pieces of paper. These crisscross cut pieces of paper vary in size from 3/8-inch x 3-1/8-inch to 1/32-inch x 1/2-inch.

Cross-cut shredders are not able to shred documents as quickly as strip-cut shredders (of the same class) due to the extra cutting involved. Although they can’t shred documents as quickly, cross-cut shredders are able to provide more security to shredded documents than a strip-cut shredder. The shredder by-product has less volume, thus requires less emptying and trips to the dumpster.

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Desk-Side Shredders
Desk-side shredders are small, entry-level shredders that are usually used in the home or in a small business. Desk-side shredders are light and portable and are usually used at the side of a desk for occasional use. Desk-side shredders, according to model, shred up to three to eight sheets of paper at a time.



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General Office Shredders
General office shredders are a medium-size shredder used in most office environments. General office shredders have a higher shred capacity than the smaller desk-side shredders. General office shredders, depending on the model, shred up to five to 30 sheets of paper.






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Departmental/Heavy Duty Shredders
Departmental/heavy duty shredders are a higher-end shredder that are used for continuous office shredding. These shredders are poplar in offices, banks and government buildings. Departmental/heavy-duty shredders, depending on the mode, can shred up to five to 60 sheets of paper at a time.






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Industrial Shredders
Industrial shredders are designed for high-volume shredding. High volume, industrial shredders can be used for a large company or for outsourced shredding companies. Industrial shredders are made for continuous, daily use. Some industrial shredders will compact and turn shredded paper into a bail of paper, much like a bail of hay. Industrial shredders, depending on the model, can shred up to 11 to 450 sheets of paper at a time.







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Cardboard Shredders
Cardboard shredders convert empty boxes, which previously cost money to dispose of, into "free" large-volume filler material suitable for packing even fragile goods for transport. Cardboard shredders can be used by warehouses, packaging companies and businesses with shipping needs.





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What are the different kinds of shredding/security?

DIN 32757 Shred Particle Security Levels
(Security Level 6 is NSA/DOD certified, not DIN 32757 certified.)

Security Level 1
Designed for shredding general records, internal documents, and documents that need to be illegible after they expire.

    STANDARD MEASUREMENT
  • Approximately 3/8” x 1 ½ to 3 1/8” Cross Cut
  • Approximately 3/8” Strip Cut

    METRIC
  • (10.5mm Strip Cut)
  • (11.8mm Strip Cut)
  • (10.5mm x 40-80mm Cross Cut)


Security Level 2
Designed for the shredding of internal/in-house documents. For shredding documents such as computer printouts or poor quality photocopies.

    STANDARD MEASUREMENT
  • Approximately 1/8” Strip Cut
  • Approximately Ό” Strip Cut
  • Approximately ½” x 1 ½” to 3 1/8” Cross Cut
  • Approximately Ό” x 1 ½” to 3 1/8” Cross Cut

    METRIC
  • (3.9mm Strip Cut)
  • (5.8mm Strip Cut)
  • (7.5mm x 40-80mm)


Security Level 3
Designed for shredding confidential documents and personal data.

    STANDARD MEASUREMENT
  • Approximately 1/16” Strip Cut
  • Approximately 1/8” x 1 1/8 to 2” Cross Cut

    METRIC
  • (1.9mm Strip Cut)
  • (3.9mm x 30-50mm Cross Cut)


Security Level 4
Designed for shredding secret documents and more sensitive information. Can be used by companies to shred confidential documents.

    STANDARD MEASUREMENT
  • Approximately 1/16” x 9/16 to 5/8” Cross Cut

    METRIC
  • (1.9mm x 15mm Cross Cut)


Security Level 5
Designed and approved by the U.S. Department of Defense and the Canadian R.C.M.P. for top secret shredding. Ideal for high-security requirements.

    STANDARD MEASUREMENT
  • Approximately 1/32” x 3/8 to ½” Cross Cut

    METRIC
  • (0.78mm x 11mm Cross Cut)


Cross Cut 1mm x 5mm (approximately 1/26" x 1/5") Security Level 6
This is the highest level of shredder security currently available. Backed by the U.S. government and the NSA. Ultra secure shredding for the most sensitive documents.

    STANDARD MEASUREMENT
  • Approximately 1/32” x 5/32” Cross Cut
  • Approximately 1/26” x 1/5” Cross Cut


    METRIC
  • (1mm x 4-5mm)


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Glossary

Automatic Stop/Start - Some shredders have an automatic stop/start. The automatic stop/start is a sensor, built into the shredder, that starts automatically when paper is fed and stops when done.

Bag full indicator - Some shredders have a bag full indicator that lets you know the shredder is full and needs its bag to be changed.

Bin - The bin is where the shredded paper goes.

Casters - Larger paper shredders are placed into a metal frame called a caster. The caster will either have legs or wheels. This makes moving larger shredders easier.

Cross-Cut - Cross cut shredders use a crisscross format to cut paper into small pieces.

Duty Cycle - A duty cycle is the amount of time a shredder can be used before it must be turned off and cooled down.

Footprint - The footprint is the area of ground the shredder takes up.

Hopper - Some shredders have a hopper. A hopper is a type of bin where paper can be dumped for shredding.

Horizontal feed - Some shredders can have paper fed from the side. This is known has horizontal feed.

Overload protection - Some shredders have overload protection. If too many sheets of paper are loaded into a shredder, the overload protection will turn the shredder off before the motor is burned out.

Reverse function - Some shredders have a reverse function. A reverse function is the ability of a paper shredder to back the paper out of a shredder.

Sheet capacity - The sheet capacity is the amount of paper a shredder can shredder at one time.

Shredder Speed - The shredder speed that a paper shredder can shred. This is usually rated in feet of paper per second.

Strip-Cut - Strip-cut is a type of shredding. Shredders that shred strip-cut shred the paper into long strips of paper.

Throat - The throat of a paper shredder is where the paper is placed before shredding. Different paper shredders have different throat widths.

Vertical feed - Some shredders have paper fed through the top of the machine. This is a vertical feed.

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