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Prevent Your Data from Ending up in a Landfill, or Worse

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A Penny for His Thoughts

An illustration of a full trash can surrounded by bags of garbage and piles of trash.When I was a kid, our family would do an annual spring cleaning and transport a load of unneeded items to the local landfill. There was an attendant at the landfill site who would direct residents and garbage trucks where to unload. He would often walk around the discarded piles with a stick, picking through things, hoping to discover unique treasures, like handbags with forgotten money inside. On one trip to the landfill, my brother put a penny and a note inside an old purse my mother was discarding. The note humorously suggested that the finder not spend it all in one place. Unfortunately, we didn’t stay long enough to watch the attendant find it, but we laughed at what he might think if he did.

Real Treasure

Personal information has become a highly-valued commodity to find in someone’s trash or in the landfill. Dumpster divers and pickers are intentionally looking for documents that businesses and individuals have neglected to properly destroy. Data thieves make a profitable living from stolen information which ultimately creates havoc for you or your business. They are hoping to find:

  • Names, addresses and birth dates
  • Credit card or bank account numbers
  • Social Security numbers
  • Medical Insurance account numbers
  • Passport and driver’s license numbers
  • Online passwords
  • Prescription information
  • Emails with private information
  • Other personal identifiers

Better to Shred

Before discarding any documents containing sensitive information, use the professional services of a shredding company to destroy them. Here are two vital reasons you don’t want your unprotected data in the landfill.

1. Legal Compliance

Privacy laws were created to protect everyone’s personal information from being seen and used with the wrong intent. Any information that you possess that has the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of your employees or clients must be protected and securely destroyed prior to being discarded. To make sure that your documents conform to the legal requirements for destruction, partner with a shredding company who will safely transport your documents to their facility for shredding. When you use an off-site data destruction company, you will remain compliant with all privacy laws including:

  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (FACTA)

2. Environmental Protection

Since my childhood, our society has become more protective of the earth and environment, and we are becoming more aware of the need to use less and recycle more. Since paper accounts for about 26% of all landfill waste, it’s vital that we find ways to keep as much as possible out of landfills. A few ways to accomplish this are:

  • Use less paper by communicating and storing information digitally.
  • Use a shredding company who will recycle 100% of your shredded paper. Every ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, more than 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 7,000 gallons of water.
  • Shred all paper documents, whether they contain personally-identifiable information or not. That way, you won’t miss destroying any sensitive information, and you will keep 100% of your paper out of the landfill.

Here to Help

With secure and compliant shredding of your documents, Wiggins Shredding will help you prevent your sensitive data from ending up in the landfill and the hands of thieves. We provide secure paper shredding for businesses and residents of Philadelphia and Tri-State Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. For proof of compliance with data privacy laws, we provide a Certificate of Destruction after each shredding project is complete. For more information or to arrange for shredding service, give us a call at 610-692-TEAR (8327) or complete the form on this page.

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