Keep Your Information Safe
Keir Thomas explores ways to get rid of personal documents for good.
THE good news is that crimes such as burglary are declining. The bad news is that fraud is filling the gap. Credit card fraud alone rose 39% in 2016.
Criminals are known to “bin dive” – to search through discarded bin bags to find things like credit card statements innocently thrown away by householders.
After discovering such details, the world is their oyster. Spoil their day by making sure your personal information is completely destroyed before you throw it away.
Paper shredders destroy documents by cutting them into pieces. The first, most simple type is the strip-cut shredder that cuts paper into long, thin strips.
While broadly effective, the strips could feasibly be reassembled into a whole page – unlikely and difficult, but it has been known to happen.
Cross-cut shredders cut documents into thin strips of just a few inches long, while micro-cut shredders turn the paper into something like confetti.
In both these instances reassembly is next to impossible.
Any very inexpensive shredder will almost certainly be a strip-cut device, and so is best avoided, especially considering a superior cross-cut model like the CCS-211P made by Tesco costs just £18.95 (see http://amzn.to/2k7rk8n).
Anticipate paying only a little more for a micro-cut model, such as the Bonsaii Docshred C560-D, which costs £27.99 (see http://amzn.to/2k7n09b).
Paying more for an advanced model is well worth it.
Such models let you feed in many sheets in one go, which can save a huge amount of time.
All shredders will shut down after just a few minutes because they overheat. This shutdown can last up to
Unsurprisingly, models that can keep shredding for longer sell at a premium, as do those that come back to life more quickly.
The Bonsaii Evershred C169-B (http://amzn. to/2lv9ikl) will shred 14 sheets at a time and run for 30 minutes before overheating – but it also costs £99.99.
Shredders like this can also destroy old credit cards or computer data CD/DVDS, and feature larger waste collectors, too.
Shredding paper creates a lot of dust so one that requires fewer trips to the bin is very desirable.
Note that most councils will not accept shredded paper for recycling. You can compost it, however, or use it for rabbit bedding!
Throwing documents into a garden bonfire is effective – and free! Ball up each sheet to avoid it (or a scrap of it) floating away on the thermals.
Another effective low-cost option is to fill a bucket or water-tight bin with a 50/50 mix of water and thin bleach, then soak the documents overnight.
The drained, disintegrated pulp can be then put in black bags and dropped in your non-recycling waste bin. n