“Over seven years worth of collected documents are in my trunk!” remarks an enthusiastic participant at the 2012 Shred Fest held on Friday, July 20th. During the event, University employees dropped off their unwanted personal documents to be securely shredded and recycled. This was done with the aid of IronMountain, the same company trusted by the University of Rochester to securely recycle its own confidential records.
Why is an event like this needed? Concerned individuals often opt to dispose of their personal documents directly into the trash in order to protect their privacy and minimize the risk of identity theft. However, this unfortunately results in the disposal of large quantities of paper that could have been recycled. According to the EPA, recycling one ton of paper saves 17 fifty-foot trees, over 7,000 gallons of water, or 4,100 KW-hours of electricity (EPA 2008). Additionally, recycling paper saves valuable space in landfills and spares the environmental impact created during the process of obtaining, transporting, and milling large quantities of fresh lumber.
Bearing this in mind, University Facilities & Services sponsored the first annual Shred Fest in the summer of 2011, with the dual vision of offering a service to protect individual privacy in an environmentally friendly manner. Shredding takes place onsite during the event in an Iron Mountain Mobile Shred Truck. The documents are first placed into a locked 65-gallon container, and then sent up a chute in the truck to be securely shredded. There is even a live camera placed inside the truck which provides concerned participants the opportunity to witness their documents being shredded!
This year’s event was a huge success; filling up a total of 75 containers of paper between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Using Iron Mountain’s benchmark of 210 pounds per container, this year’s paper document collection has a total estimated weight of 15,750 pounds—over seven tons! The final tally of containers collected this year marks a substantial improvement over last year’s haul, by a difference of sixteen containers and one ton!
Participants of the event expressed their appreciation. “The folks over there couldn’t have been nicer, more helpful, and good-humored. It was such a relief to divest our home of that material in a secure, responsible way. I heartily endorse the event,” remarks Patricia Pascarella, of the College Dean’s Office.
If you missed out on this year’s event, there is no need to worry. Given its success, University Facilities & Services looks forward to hosting the Shred Fest again next summer. If you’re interested in attending, you may want to go ahead and start keeping track of your unwanted personal documents as you receive them. 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, and stay tuned for details.