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Shredded documents - what happens next

It is estimated that the average office worker uses up to 45 sheets of paper per day and as you can imagine, information included in these documents could contain a variety of sensitive information including financial details, employee records and confidential client data.

With all of this data present in the workplace, when documents are no longer needed, the majority of UK businesses will turn to their shredders to ensure they are disposed of securely.

Failing to dispose of documents in the correct way could put your business in danger of breaching the seventh principle of the Data Protection Act, which states: “You must have appropriate security to prevent the personal data you hold being accidentally or deliberately compromised.”

So, what does happen to our documents once they have been shredded? Below we‘ve detailed a step-by-step guide to give you an insight into the journey from shredding to pressing.


Step 1 – Once documents are no longer needed, they should be shredded. Documents can be shredded on-site or securely taken off-site to be shredded at a professional shredding providers’ depot

Step 2 – The shredded fragments are then tightly packed into bales ready to be taken to a recycling centre

Step 3 – The bales of shredded paper are then securely transported to a recycling centre, with many located across the UK

Step 4 – Now at the recycling centre, the paper is pulped in a tank containing water and chemicals to separate the fibres

Step 5 - Once separated, the paper is then spun in a container to clean the pulp

Step 6 - The pulp is then sprayed onto a large mesh conveyer belt to remove excess water. At this point, the pulp will begin to look reminiscent of paper!

Step 7 - The paper will still contain water at this stage so is pressed before travelling through large heated rollers to achieve the perfect moisture levels and desired thickness

Step 8 - Once pressed, the paper is wound on to large rolls before being cut to size on smaller reels


Not only are we safe in the knowledge that our documents have been fully destroyed during the shredding process, there are many environmental benefits to shredding documents. Recycled paper produces 73% less air pollution than if it was made from raw materials and not only does it save energy, it conserves natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Recycling just one tonne of paper can save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.


There are also many benefits for businesses. Shredding can save time, money and increase productivity. It is estimated that for every 12 workplace filing cabinets, an additional employee is required to maintain them.

Shredding and recycling can also reduce a business’ carbon footprint considering that an average of 80% of office waste is paper.

In addition to all of this, shredding eliminates the presence of sensitive information that is no longer needed in the office, boosting an office’s security controls and eliminating the chances of security breaches or fraudulent activity occurring.