Shredding CDs in a standard paper shredder – proceed with caution!

March 28, 2019 at 8:56 am by SEM

At first glance, the idea of shredding a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray Disc (BD) in an ordinary office supply store paper shredder doesn’t seem like a bad choice. However, once you put it in the slot, you are suddenly bombarded with small, sharp pieces of disc into your face and all over the carpet; you wish that you had donned the safety goggles first. There must be a smarter, cleaner, and safer way to do the job.


You are right! There are a number of better options that are not nearly as hazardous or messy as the standard office supply store shredder. The best solution for you will depend on your volume and the importance of the data on the discs. For those with US government classified or other highly sensitive information, a machine listed on the NSA list would be a must. For personal use and lower level information, there are many other choices that are far more efficient and safer than office supply store shredders. High quality shredders include safety features and flaps to ensure the area stays clean and the operator stays safe.

Recently, some shredder companies have been pushing their new “combo” machines. On the surface, this concept seems to be pretty good for those who see an advantage in being able to shred CD/DVDs and paper with the footprint of one larger machine. However, these units have only one cutting head; one end has a slot that handles the paper while the other end does the CD/DVD destruction. Unfortunately, this is a critical design flaw that can cost you money and downtime. You see, without a separate cutting head for the paper and a separate one for the CD/DVD material, you run the risk of serious cutter head stress and machine damage over time. In addition, these Combo machines are fairly expensive, have only one compartment for waste-(paper/plastic contamination is not good for recycling) and when they break, you lose ALL capability till you can get someone to fix it.

Not to fear! SEM has the perfect machine for this requirement, and our solutions won’t leave you high and dry when you need us most!

SEM’s solution to the combo unit is a bundle package: the NSA Listed Paper and Optical Media Destruction Package for medium volume applications which includes our NSA listed 0200 OMD/SSD with Cabinet Kit for classified optical media destruction and our NSA listed 244/4 paper shredder for classified paper destruction. The 0200 OMD/SSD is NSA listed to destroy optical media including CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, SIM cards, CAC IDs and more to a less than 2mm particle as per NSA requirements. Destroying up to 1,091 discs per hour, the 0200 OMD/SSD is a great solution for medium volume of optical media destruction. The 244/4 is our #1 selling high security paper shredder designed specifically for medium and high volume office applications. These machines together have a very competitive price, have a similar footprint to the combo units, have far greater capacity, and won’t cross-contaminate the paper and plastics, so you can recycle both particles.

However, the most important reason the bundle is the smarter move is that if one unit fails the user will still have one machine to destroy either paper or CD/DVD/BDs. This is a critical point to consider, especially for those who work in a classified environment. Don’t put all your eggs in the combo basket if you want to avoid disappointment and eventual machine failure down the road.

If you just need only CD/DVD/BD destruction and you have a high volume of classified media, the NSA listed SEM 0200 OMD/SSD with cabinet will mutilate up to 1,091 discs in only an hour! Housed in an attractive cabinet and easily portable, this little workhorse is perfect for an office environment where versatility, cleanliness, and security are a must.

Next time you think of using an office shredder to destroy a CD — PROCEED WITH CAUTION and get the right machine for the job!