Document Shredding: DIY vs. Professional

Keeping documents you no longer need, whether its in an office setting or at home, means you’re taking the risk of that information falling into the wrong hands. For businesses the outcome could be fines, a lawsuit or worse; At home the outcome could be identity theft.

In order to protect yourself and your clients, it’s important to securely and properly destroy documents and data that you no longer need. You can do it yourself, or you can hire professionals – but which method will work best for you?

Here’s a little infographic to break down the process for you. We’ll let you decide which one is best (and when you do, give us a call).

Innovative Products from Recycled Goods

Recycling saves energy, reduces garbage and helps to keep the environment clean. It helps both people and the environment. With the growing concern for the environment, many companies and households are recycling. Recycling 125 aluminum cans helps save enough energy to supply a home with power for a whole day. Only 33.4% of the waste produced in USA is recycled, so much more energy would be saved if everyone recycled.

Importance of Recycling

By recycling, we conserve the raw material that would have been used to make new products. This saves the resources and also protects the environment. Most raw materials for products are obtained from logging or mining; both processes contribute to environmental pollution and degradation. With recycling, there is less need for new raw material.

The energy required for manufacturing products from recycled material is considerably lower than that used for manufacturing from new material. It also saves the energy required to extract and process raw material.

Recycling reduces the buildup of garbage in the environment. If products are not recycled, they end up being disposed as garbage and taking up a lot of space on landfill sites.

Products Made from Recycled Goods

Skateboards

A company based in Los Angeles uses discarded nets to make skateboards. The nets are melted into tiny pellets that are used to make the skateboards that are 27 inches in length and 9 inches in width.

Construction Material

Even though used disposable diapers and sanitary pads are really disgusting, they can be used to make construction material such as tiles, fiber-based roofing and even vinyl siding. After sanitizing, machines are used to separate the wood pulp from the plastic. The wood pulp can be used to make oil filters, wallpaper and recycling paper; the plastic can be remanufactured into vinyl siding and roof shingles. What is left of the solid can be used in the creation of green energy.

Footwear

A footwear startup in Los Angeles sells women’s flat shoes made from PET plastic yarn. The soles are carbon-free and their packaging is fully recyclable. Plastic bottles are first cleared of any labels and hot washed, then they are then processed into yarn. The yarn is treated into a soft, breathable and foot-friendly material which can be heated into the proper shape and fixed to the outsole and insole. Approximately 3 bottles are used to create one shoe.

Plastic Lamps

Recycled plastic bottles are also used to make lamps and chandeliers. The plastic bottles are first cleaned and sandblasted, then they’re sculpted into decorative shapes. Even the plastic bottle tops can also be used in the process.

Necklaces, Bracelets and Beads

Upcycled plastic can be used to make bracelets, necklaces and beads. Designers are turning to recycled plastic for unique jewelry designs. They can also be made at home with some plastic bottles, a pair of scissors and heat.

Tires

Tires are one of the most problematic waste products. Fortunately, they can be broken down and remanufactured into storage baskets, chairs, coffee tables, rockers for children and decorative pieces.

Recycling doesn’t stop with plastic, aluminum and paper – you should recycle your electronics as well: old computers, cell phones, TV’s, etc. A lot of the materials that make up our electronics are valuable: silver, gold, titanium, copper, iron and more. When recycled by a professional service, these valuable materials can be removed and re-used. Just like electronics contain valuable materials, they also contain materials that are toxic to us: arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium and many more. Recycling electronics prevents these from ending up in a landfill where they will eventually leak out into the ecosystem, turning our air toxic, water toxic and harming our plant and animal life.

If you would like more information on e-waste recycling, or would like to get a free quote, please contact us at 936-228-5500 or visit our website here.

The Role of Hardware Destruction in Cyber Security

The data on our myriad of devices — including computers, cell phones, flash drives and SIM cards — must have done something very right because they appear to have been granted eternal life. Seriously. No matter how many how-to articles we read or friends who assure us they “know how to wipe it,” data has a way of coming back to haunt us. The technology and electronics experts at CNET report that, with the right tools, data can be recovered, even after we believe it’s been wiped away.

The ability to restore old data may make the job of prosecutors a little easier in a RICO case and that’s something most of us can live with. What we don’t want to deal with is the way bad guys (and gals) can mine private information about us simply by having access to any one of our devices.

Who among us wants someone else to know the passwords to every online site we visit or, for that matter, which online sites we visit? Who wants to expose the names and phone numbers of their friends, family and business associates? Who wants to share photos and videos that were meant to be private?

With so little privacy in this world already, the least we can do is protect our personal and business information from those who would try to exploit it for their own gains. Like Jimi Hendrix and his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival, the only answer is destruction — the total and complete destruction of all that information-rich hardware.

What we do is take all those outdated electronics — like iPads, cell phones and computers — and pulverize them. By the time we’re done, they are literally laid to waste and no one, no matter how talented, could possibly access the information contained within. Magnetic tapes, CDs, DVDs, SIM cards, old floppy discs and hard drives — we render them useless. We accomplish this by using state-of-the art equipment to shred the items and turn them in nothing more than scrap metal. And in order to be environmentally responsible, the scrap metal is then recycled and used to produce other products rather than end up in a landfill.

If you’re considering having your old hardware destroyed, there are two more things you should know. The first is that we are a trusted member of the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID), meaning you can trust us to follow the strictest possible standards. And finally, our mobile shredding unit makes it possible for you to witness the entire process from start to finish.

Although we are proud of our services, the most important thing we offer you is peace of mind. You will never have to worry that someone has access to your information who should not have it. Visit www.TristarShredding.com for more information or contact us today and let us help you keep your private life private.

What Documents Should I Shred?

Most people know the importance of shredding documents that contain sensitive information, but some documents you need to hang on to for future reference. So the question is, how long should you hold on to a document before you shred it? The infographic below, care of the Federal Trade Commission, is a guide to help you know when to store a document and when to shred it.

When you’re ready to shred those documents give us a call – you can do a one time walk-in drop off at our physical location:

Tristar Document Shredding
500 North Loop 336 East, Suite 106 – 107
Conroe, TX 77301
Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm, and Saturday by appointment only

OR you can schedule a mobile service to come to you and pick it up. We provide commercial, community and residential document shredding services. Our mobile shredding unit comes directly to your location allowing you to monitor the shredding process as it happens. There is no need to remove rubber bands, staples, or binder clips. Our shredders handle it all in one simple operation.

Contact us today to get a free quote or to schedule a service.

 

 

 

Why Shredding Old Devices is a Must!

Christmas has come and gone, and with it we know a big wave of smart phones have been replaced with newer, more high tech models.

Cell phones are involved in every aspect of our lives nowadays: we use them as phones, GPS devices, portable computers, and more. Whether you realize it or not, your phone has sensitive information stored on it. Smart phones store all of our usernames and passwords. They have direct access to our bank accounts. They have email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and pictures of our families and friends.

While we all love getting new devices, it’s important to remember that there is a proper way to dispose of the old devices we no longer use. Having used mobile devices shredded is the only 100% guaranteed way to wipe the stored memory from that device.

Just in case you need convincing, here are 5 reasons to shred your old devices:

  • Restoring your phone to factory settings doesn’t always work. Research was conducted by a team at Cambridge University and their research study found that 80% of the time authentication tokens, which are essentially an electronic key to access confidential accounts and information, were able to be recovered from the devices that had been restored to factory settings. So 80% of the time they were able to access the confidential information of the previous owner that had been “wiped clean” from the phone.
  • The SIM card is not the only part of the phone that stores information. If you remove the SIM card from your device, that does not remove all the stored information within your phone. Just like the phones in the Cambridge research study, all devices have internal components that store information — whether they have a SIM card or not. Removing the SIM card will remove the information stored on the SIM card, but not the information that is stored in your device internally.
  • Destroying it is not enough. You can run any device over with a car or crush it with a hammer, and that STILL doesn’t guarantee that all the right memory chips and internal components that store information have been correctly and totally destroyed. The only guaranteed way to wipe information from a phone is by having a professional shred it.
  • A little information goes a long way. As technology evolves and gets smarter, so do the thieves and hackers. Oftentimes, all they need is one tiny piece of information in order to unlock the door that leads to much more crucial information.
  • Your whole life is on your phone. From emails to bank accounts to photos of loved ones — every little detail about you is stored on your phone. That is reason enough to want to make sure the information on your phone is destroyed properly, by a professional, to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

If the information on your personal device is recovered and stolen it could create numerous problems for you, including identity theft and fraudulent bank account activity. We take precautions with other sensitive information – for example, we don’t just throw away papers with our social security numbers and bank account information – so why aren’t we more cautious with that same information in digital format?

Do your research and you’ll find that data destruction and e-waste recycling are the only safe ways to dispose of your devices. When you’re ready for an expert to take those old devices off your hands and destroy them safely, give us a call at 936-788-4733 or visit our website to get a free quote.

 

Hard Drive Shredding

hard drive shreddingThe time for a technology upgrade has arrived, and with it, the opportunity to dispose of old hard drives. Former drives may seem useless, but they’re surprisingly valuable; they could provide unauthorized individuals with a treasure trove of information.

In the wrong hands, old hard drives offer easy access to Social Security numbers, credit card information and other data that could compromise you and your business. Although a valuable first step, wiping your drive is not good enough — today’s advanced technology allows for easy recovery.

Your best bet? Hard drive shredding. By physically destroying your hard drive, you remove all possibility of a security breach.

Why Is Hard Drive Shredding Important?

Regular upgrades are essential these days, given the staggering pace of technological change. Unfortunately, updates take more work than merely researching and investing in new devices. You’ll need a detailed plan for your hard drives, which could otherwise pose a major security risk.

Many individuals and businesses attempt to prevent security breaches by wiping, reformatting or degaussing old hard drives. Although valuable, these methods still leave hard drives vulnerable, as data from improperly handled drives can easily be accessed.

Hard drive shredding eliminates this opportunity by physically destroying vulnerable data. Data wiping and degaussing simply cannot provide the 100-percent guarantee of data destruction that accompanies professional hard drive shredding.

How It Works

Those truly committed to taking full security precautions should precede physical hard drive destruction with degaussing. Although ineffective on its own, this method produces excellent results when combined with shredding.

During the data-destruction process, a shredder physically tears old hard drives into miniscule pieces. Not only does this process shred the material until it can no longer be recovered, it also compacts the drive — making data recovery virtually impossible.

Targeted Devices

Although typically associated with personal computers, hard drive shredding protects against data acquisition from a variety of devices. Laptop computers and HDD-based tablets require shredding, as the hard drives associated with these devices typically contain sensitive information. Portable hard drives attached to iPhones and other mobile devices may also require shredding services. Shredding could even prove necessary for printers, as advanced laser printers and many multifunction printers and copiers have hard drives.

Far too many businesses and individuals fail to destroy hard drive data properly through a professional shredding service. Don’t leave your information vulnerable to security breaches; invest in complete data destruction via hard drive shredding.

The Cure for a Messy Office

Messy office? Tristar Document Shredding can help! We offer mobile services, as well as walk in/drop-off shredding services. Schedule a one-time shredding service, or a regularly scheduled mobile service. If you have a large volume of documents cluttering your office, ask us about our purge services to help free up some valuable office space. We can shred anything – documents, hard drives, electronics, old cell phones, license plates, and more – you name it, we can shred it!

Water Damaged Documents

Whether your washer leaks or the basement floods, water damage can cause a lot of problems in both residential homes and commercial buildings. While water damage is bad no matter what the source is, a natural disaster – like Hurricane Harvey – can cause even bigger problems. If your personal documents at home were ruined or your business is now staring at mountains of soggy papers, you may be wondering what to do with those papers. You may ask yourself if it’s possible to recycle or shred wet paper. Once a paper experiences water damage, you, unfortunately, may have no choice but to recycle it.

What to do if your documents were damaged by water?

Regardless of what you choose to do with your papers (salvage, shred, or recycle), it is important to act quickly to prevent mold and mildew growth.

  1. Assess the situation: What documents were affected? If the documents were soaked to the point of being unidentifiable, try to make a list of papers you know are affected. This will help greatly if you need to request replacement documents. Additionally, decide if any papers are salvageable.
  2. Discard boxes: If your documents were stored in cardboard boxes, carefully remove the papers and destroy the boxes.  Even if you dry the cardboard boxes, they are not safe to reuse. A word of caution when lifting boxes: the bottom of wet boxes tend to disintegrate and give way easily.  It’s best to remove the papers before attempting to lift the box.
  3. Dry your documents papers: It might seem pointless to dry a document that you intend on shredding, but this an important step for two reasons.  First and most importantly, drying your documents (along with any wet possessions) helps stop the growth of mildew and mold. If you were evacuated and returned home, it’s not unlikely to find mildew starting to grow. Second, soggy papers can begin to disintegrate and form a ball, clogging the shredder. Dry papers are much easier to shred.

How do I dry my papers?

Drying your papers and removing water from your home can be done.  The key is to lower the humidity levels and have constant air movement such as open windows and oscillating fans. Do not attempt to dry stacks of papers; rather, lay out each individual paper on a clean, dry surface. Flip the papers over as necessary to ensure that both sides are drying.

Why should I shred papers that are partially illegible?

Even if you cannot read an entire document, sensitive information may still be legible. For that reason, shredding is a secure way to make sure all of your personal information is kept private.  Additionally, if your business was flooded, you may have documents that you are not legally allowed to toss in the garbage; some types of documents, like healthcare records, must always be shredded.  Tristar will always issue a Certificate of Destruction as proof that you have complied with any legal obligations to destroy records.

Do I have to remove the fasteners?

Unlike small office shredders, Tristar shredders can easily tackle staples and binder clips which saves you time from removing those items from piles of wet documents.

If you have documents damaged by flood waters, contact us for a  free quote.