Shredding On Site. Shredding Off Site. What Makes Sense for You?

Your place or ours? Considering on-site and off-site shredding.

When deciding on off-site or on-site shredding, there are a few key points to consider. First, just to clarify, off-site shredding means that material is transported in locked, GPS-monitored trucks, usually in locked containers, to a secure shredding facility .  On-site is the same as mobile shredding — a truck comes to you, and the paper is shred right there on the premises.

Arguments for one or the other include questions like: What is the more secure method? What is the most environmentally friendly choice? What does each cost? What’s right for my business? All good questions, which hopefully we will shed some light on for you. The most important take-away, however, is that you, the customer, should ultimately have a choice, rather than be subject to your vendor’s decision.

Every business today deals with some kind of confidential information and needs to be concerned about security. At Vangel, both our on-site and off-site shredding services are completely secure. We used to only offer off-site secure shredding, because it was the “greener” option but improved technology has reduced the carbon footprint of newer shredding trucks so we now offer both. So how do you know what’s best for you?

When the idea of mobile shredding was first introduced, “On-site, done right” was the popular slogan.  While secure, it is generally more expensive than off-site shredding, and it can have a greater carbon footprint than having your shredding done off-site. Why? The truck’s engine must run to operate the shredder, consuming more fuel and emitting carbon monoxide. In buildings with enclosed docks, some facility managers have prohibited shredding at the dock because of noise and air pollution complaints, forcing the trucks out into the street.  However, for those businesses with internal policies that require an employee to be there at all stages of document transport and shredding, then, mobile shredding is a good choice.

In addition, when you choose Vangel for on-site shredding, you have a complete chain of custody from point of pickup to shipment for recycling. We don’t dump at the recycler who’s closest when the truck is full. We dump at our secure facility and we know the final destination of the shredded, baled paper.

Off-site shredding might be a better option for other customers. When a company has a high volume of information to shred, a mobile shredder may be too time-consuming or too small to complete the job all at once. This is especially true when purging numerous boxes of archived records.  Each box must be emptied into a cart, each cart holds about eight boxes, and it takes two minutes to lift, dump and return the cart to the ground.  All told it’s about five minutes to process a cart.  (In this case, even if you normally have on-site service, having a staff person follow the truck to witness the shredding at our facility is worth considering.)

Then what are you going to do with all of the empty cardboard boxes? There is no “cargo” space on a mobile shred truck — the body of the truck contains the shredder and the shredded paper — so the boxes are usually left behind and may or may not be recycled.

Customers who also have recycling needs benefit from off-site shredding. Everything can be picked up at the same time, reducing the pickup fees and… the carbon emissions. Because of the care that can be taken off-site, most of the paper can be “up cycled” to make printing & writing paper and less of it used for single-use items such as tissue and toweling.

Since you may be wondering:  No, no one is reading the documents as they’re being fed into the shredder. And yes, everything is shred, except for the empty cardboard boxes.

And there are no worries about compliance or liability, Vangel’s off-site shredding process meets all Federal regulations. Our drivers are bonded and insured, our secure containers are locked and tracked all the way from pick up to their arrival in our gated and 24/7 camera-monitored facility. It is there where the documents will be shred by our industrial shredder, baled and sent to a paper mill for remanufacturing into new high-quality paper products.

So what’s right for you?

If you have a small to medium amount of confidential material on a regular basis, or when you purge, on-site may be the right choice. If the property manager doesn’t allow the shredding truck to remain at the dock because of time or space limitations or noise or fumes, consider off-site. As you can see, there are a number of factors, and it’s not really “one size fits all.”  To find out what makes sense for your business, give us a call.