# (How to:) Getting rid of (paper) Documents containing Personal Info, no shredders?

Gold Member
Hi,
We all have paper documents containing our personal info: general receipts, regular mail, etc., that we don't want others seeing. I have taken mine to a place that does shredding, but the cost is starting to add up. I can't realistically start a (controlled, of course) fire. I asked the doorman of building that have incinerators, without luck. How do you deal with this problem?

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I know that this is a kind of dumb solution and totally lacking any innovative spirit but at the end we just bought a cheap shredder.

davenn, BillTre, berkeman and 3 others
Gold Member
I know that this is a kind of dumb solution and totally lacking any innovative spirit but at the end we just bought a cheap shredder.
Thanks for your answer. May be the best alternative over the long run. I tried doing some research on chemicals to dilute the ink in the paper but it was kind of a rabbit hole, since I know very little about chemistry in general.

Homework Helper
2022 Award
Have you seen the TV series "Breaking Bad"? I'm thinking bathtub...

Gold Member
Have you seen the TV series "Breaking Bad"? I'm thinking bathtub...
No, I have heard about it, but have never watched it. Will look it up. Thanks for your input.

Staff Emeritus
How much paper do you have?

My local UPS Store charges 0.75 USD per pound to shred. An el-cheapo shredder is about $30 so the breakeven point is 40 pounds, or about 4000 sheets of paper. Also, the ultra-cheap shredders don't last long. I would never buy another$30 one.

WWGD
Gold Member
How much paper do you have?

My local UPS Store charges 0.75 USD per pound to shred. An el-cheapo shredder is about $30 so the breakeven point is 40 pounds, or about 4000 sheets of paper. Also, the ultra-cheap shredders don't last long. I would never buy another$30 one.
Thanks. Not that much paper now, but it just adds over time. I will check out UPS.

Mentor
Some communities in the US anyway do periodic free paper shredding.

berkeman and WWGD
Quasimodo
Those of you lucky enough to own a house with a garden or a piece of land, you can bury them underground. I have buried stacks of old magazines and newspapers in the backyard and after a year everything dissolved in the soil.

WWGD
Homework Helper
Gold Member
I have seen in the Houston area, the County sponsors a Shred day every once in a while.

More often they have a "recycle day" where you can bring in old monitors or other electronics which shouldn't be thrown in the dumpster. They also guarantee any hard drives will be destroyed etc.

WWGD
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Maybe you could borrow a goat.

Craftek_Ana, davenn and 256bits
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
My credit union occasionally has an event where we can take documents to be shredded for free, but we just don't generate that much stuff that needs to be shredded. We do have a shredder that can handle the small amount that I do want to destroy. But if stuff has just my name and address on it, like junk mail, I don't worry about people seeing it and just take it to the local recycling center.

Ignitia
When I was moving out I had to destroy old documents but didn't have a shredder. I tore them to pieces and soaked it in a basin. After a week, they were illegible.

Although that was a special situation. I recommend a shredder.

When I moved cross-country I wanted to get rid of 25 years worth of tax returns, bills, bank statements, pay stubs, and assorted accumulated paperwork. I took it all to a commercial shredder. It filled two of their big plastic wheeled bins. $50 to shred it all. That was their minimum charge. If you want to stand there and watch them shred your stuff ("witness") they charge more. I trusted them, they wheeled the bins thru the door and I left. Since then I got one of the personal shredders. Actually I got two: first a cheapo, then a better one. The cheap one was OK but it would choke on more than a few pages at a time. If you can make yourself shred as the paperwork comes in, a cheap one would be OK. If you're a pack rat (see story above, "25 years...") then get a bigger one. I like the garden idea, but where I live now (high desert) I don't think that will work. Like the dead sea scrolls, the paper would be around long after I'm gone, LOL. jackwhirl Also, the ultra-cheap shredders don't last long. I would never buy another$30 one.