“I feel that the things that people are bringing are as old as they are,” an onlooker comically observed while watching the scene over Park Lot on Friday, July 15th. People pulled up in their cars, unloaded bags and boxes filled with personal papers, bills, receipts, sensitive items that they rightfully grasped tightly in their hands until they could reach locked totes, destined eventually for the shred-truck waiting in the lot.
This was the scene at the Personal Documents Roundup, an event open to all University employees, to safely and sustainably dispose of their confidential documents at no cost to them. In this pilot event, staff and faculty from any and every department made an appearance, breathing a sigh of relief as their personal information was kept safe from modern day dangers such as identity theft which are now ever looming. “I’ve been wanting to do this for so long,” one participant noted unloading box after box, “thank you!”
The enthusiasm and participation was widespread at the event, as over a ten-hour period over 6 tons of paper (12,390 pounds) was saved from the landfill and enabled to be recycled safely and efficiently. In fact, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. alone, 22 totes, equaling over 2 tons, of paper was collected! Iron Mountain, the company that the University partnered with for this event, came with a mobile shred truck, which was equipped with a built-in shredder, storage space, and a camera inside for concerned document owners to be certain their documents were effectively shredded, and their personal information protected.
As with any event that is being held for the first time, there was some degree of uncertainty about how successful the Personal Documents Roundup would be, but the idea clearly excited those who participated. “This is exciting!” said Rebecca Jones with URMC’s Public Relations and Communications Office. “What a perfect marriage of environmental conservation and safeguarding yourself against identity theft. Brilliant!” Indeed the event’s efforts collected an amount of paper equivalent to saving 102 trees.
This year was the program’s first, but judging from its success, it won’t be the last. In reply to the overwhelming response to the Personal Documents Roundup, said Amy Kadrie, University Recycling Coordinator and organizer of event, “During the event we received enough participation and positive feedback to hopefully make this event an annual tradition. I would like to thank everyone who volunteered their time to make this event the success that it was.” Pictures are available to view on the UR Sustainable facebook page (remember to “like” it!).
Did you miss this year’s event? Or did you participate and plan to in the future as well? Well if you want to start preparing now, start keeping track of your confidential documents from the time they come to you! Consider putting a box or bin right next to your regular recycling bin at home to collect all of your confidential papers as they come in the mail.