A decent shredder is just one of several options for keeping your crucial paperwork away from prying eyes
Documents you should destroy before discarding include those with bank and credit card numbers, legal and medical information, and passwords or your signature.
The simplest method is to buy a shredder – but if the idea of using these paper-chewing machines does not appeal, there are alternatives.
A basic shredder costs as little as £10, and more sophisticated machines upwards of £50. A shredder essentially consists of the shredding unit – slots for feeding documents into rows of metallic teeth – and a bin to collect the waste.
Cross-cut shredders are more expensive, but as criminals have been known to piece back together documents shredded into the conventional thin strips, cross-cut lends added security.
All shredders should be designed to conform to safety standards, but a little care when feeding in documents is advisable.
Local councils do, of course, offer waste disposal and recycling facilities, but would probably advise you to use a commercial service for shredding.
If the volume of documents warrants it, and depending on where you live, you could have a large quantity of documents shredded for a minimum charge of around £80.
Burning documents is a simpler solution, but do exercise caution. Select a safe place to incinerate them and consider any local fire restrictions.
Soaking will cause papers to dissolve into a soggy mess and render them easy to tear apart. The sodden documents will readily stick together and should thus - even when dry - be illegible.
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