When it comes to Shredding Services, Size Matters

When it comes to the proper disposal of your private, sensitive, or even classified materials there is no room for error and even less room for mystery. If you’re going to pay for a service, the quality should justify the expense and we couldn’t agree more. In this day of identity-theft, cyber attacks, etc. it goes without saying that it’s far better to be safe than sorry and if that means being extra careful in selecting a service for your document destruction needs, isn’t it worth it for the peace of mind? We know that our clients use us in order to gain that sense of security and we go out of our way to provide it for them.

Here at DDI we feel that the smaller the shred size, the smaller the risk and that’s the reason why we shred our materials down to 5/16″.

What’s so special about that?

Well, at the present time the industry standard size for shredding is 1″. This means that when a listing states that materials are shred down to industry specification, or standard it’s most likely the standard- 1 inch size.

The fastest and easiest way to find out is simply to watch your vendor destroy some of your records and you’ll see within seconds. If for some reason there is a wait before your materials can be disposed of, then you can always ask them what their shred sizes are and they shouldn’t have a problem letting you know. If they hesitate, or have some “complicated” reason why they can’t/won’t tell you, then you might want to trust your instincts and make a note of it.

Keep in mind, that when using a Shredding Services company most will provide a certificate of destruction for the materials you give them and if they don’t… well, let’s just hope you’re keeping track of red flags at that point. Never the less, a certificate of destruction is proof that your materials have been destroyed… to the industry standard, which all sounds great, but we all know from past experiences that sometimes “seeing is believing”.

So just for a frame of reference, we’ve provided some photos below (all information contained within the pictured documents is fictional). The first set of images here have been cut down to 1″ strips.


As you can see, it’s still easy to read the message and it wouldn’t be that difficult to put these pieces back together. Of course, no one really writes confidential information in 48 point font size, but it’s been done here on purpose to demonstrate that in order for words to become unrecognizable, they would have to be larger than 48-pt font if they are cut into 1-inch strips. You can fit a lot of information onto an inch of paper. The next image pretty much sums it up.

Despite the fact that this photo is not in focus (we’re materials destruction and not-so-much professional photography) you can still see just how much information can be acquired from a 1-inch strip of paper. This text was written in a 12-pt arial font. Now we’ve all seen how small the type is on our bank statements, etc. and you can just imagine what that would look like on 1-inch strips.

The next set of images are of the same (fictional) documents, but shred down to Data Disposal Inc.’s standard 5/16″ strips. This is the largest size that DDI shreds for all customers at no extra charge.

As you can see, even with the large, bold letters the document looks a lot more like gibberish than a recognizable message. It would also be more difficult to arrange these pieces and if I hadn’t placed this directly into the shredder as a single sheet, it would have taken me quite some time to put it back in order. Here is the 2nd sheet:

The first few pieces were too difficult to pull apart, but you (literally) get the picture here. Now as you can see it is still possible to make out some words here and there, which is why you’ll notice that the edges of our shred are jagged and torn. Although this one came out as separate strips it was still very difficult for me to place them back in order and I for one,  prefer that knowledge when it comes to documents that I personally need destroyed.

Now to be fair, every company is different and many offer several sizes to choose from, as do we, but we thought for the sake of this blog we’d take out the guess work and just show everyone exactly what they will get when they work with us.

In case you were wondering what happened to our test shreds, they were compacted in with many others which you can see here (“see” being a figurative term):

To us, size DOES matter. At least when it comes to paper shredding. Have a great week and as always, feel free to contact us with any questions.