Repurposing an Out of Spec Shredder

April 12, 2020 at 1:00 pm by Flora Knolton

Here at SEM, we understand that meeting the NSA’s changing requirements for paper and optical media shredders can prove challenging. When specifications change without warning, we all have to quickly adapt. When this point comes, our customers often ask us, “Well, if I can’t use this anymore due to new regulations, what CAN I do with it?” We’ve actually laid out a few things that would be worth your while if you find yourself in one of these situations.1250 paper shredder

If your paper or optical media shredder stops working, we recommend disassembling it with a technician and recycling the separated parts accordingly. However, due to the high quality manufacturing involved in creating these devices, we realize that many of you may have very well-functioning shredders when the requirements change. For working shredders, we’d advise donating your technology to a charity or becoming one yourself. Many charities such as Center for Democracy & Technology, who have been protecting online civil liberties and human rights for the internet, will accept your out of spec shredders.

Becoming your own charity would be a kind idea if you can afford to keep the device in yours or another location. For good PR or to help the local public, your organization could hold a community shredding event for the greater good of everyone. Inside AND outside the workplace, everyone is playing critical roles in protecting confidential information. Promoting information security events will not only help the local community but would support a culture of security to employees and confirm their trust with their employer. This could be your company’s new team building day, but with the added bonus of benefitting the entire neighborhood. Not only could this improve your company’s reputation, it will also improve the local communities’ quality of life by providing critical data privacy services. These types of community shredding events are often free, and people are invited to bring a couple boxes or so of confidential papers that need to be securely destroyed. Coming full circle to the aforementioned charities, this shredding event can even be held at a low cost, noting that all the proceeds will be going to a specified charity. By demonstrating to the public that your organization adheres to a secure chain of custody and allowing them to see the industrial grade shredders needed for the work at your business, good things are bound to be afoot. It should also be noted that community shredding events can promote recycling, and we’re all looking to reduce our carbon footprint!  Seventeen trees saved per ton of paper can absorb a total of 250 lbs. of carbon dioxide from the air each year. Burning that same ton of paper would create 1,500 lbs. of carbon dioxide. Document security and environmental responsibility can coexist!

paper shredder old manIf holding your own shredding charity event isn’t feasible due to your facility’s restrictions, or not having the time to hold such an event, it’s still possible to donate to someone who is in need of a high security shredder. Just because someone isn’t in a federal branch of the government or following NSA guidelines for their organization doesn’t mean that they don’t have confidential information needing to be destroyed. Non-profit organizations generally do not have nearly as much revenue as for-profit organizations. For-profits use technology strategically to maintain their profit margins and increase market share, whereas non-profits’ mission is to create public value. Technology like a high security shredder might not be at the forefront of what they think need in their organization. But non-profits, like any company, have multitudes of information about employees and the people these charities serve. That’s a lot of personally identifiable information (PII) that could potentially fall into the wrong hands and wreak havoc. Giving your shredder to one of these non-profit organizations would make a lot of people happy. Clients, donators, employees, and more will finally have their data securely destroyed at a place that may be at high risk of a breach due to their lack of technology. Indeed, most non-profits would benefit from integrating a shredder into their chain of custody to enhance their overall organization’s safety, and even an outdated SEM device will be far superior to anything they could pick up at an office supply store in terms of both build quality and overall security.

We at SEM hope you choose what best fits your needs when bidding adieu to your hardworking shredder. While your out-of-spec shredder may not be up to par with NSA requirements, it can still provide value for years to come through charitable donations, shredding events, or at the last, recycled parts.