How to Safely Dispose of Personal Info w/o Shredders

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In summary, the individual tried to destroy old documents by tearing them to pieces and soaking them in a basin, but the process was time-consuming and the documents were still readable after a year. They eventually bought a personal shredder and now has two of them, the first being a cheap one and the second being a better one. The individual also likes the garden idea, but does not think it will work in their current location because the paper would be around for a long time.
  • #1
WWGD
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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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  • #2
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.
 
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  • #3
Rive said:
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.
 
  • #4
Have you seen the TV series "Breaking Bad"? I'm thinking bathtub...
 
  • #5
hutchphd said:
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.
 
  • #6
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.
 
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  • #7
Vanadium 50 said:
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.
 
  • #8
Some communities in the US anyway do periodic free paper shredding.
 
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  • #9
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.
 
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  • #10
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.
 
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  • #11
Maybe you could borrow a goat. :woot:
 
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  • #12
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.
 
  • #13
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.
 
  • #14
As others mentioned, I have seen a lot of banks having a shred day, and I would take one or two boxes once or twice a year. They don't care if you have an account; actually they do it hoping you don't have one and will try to sign you up. Just take the handouts.

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.
 
  • #15
Vanadium 50 said:
Also, the ultra-cheap shredders don't last long. I would never buy another $30 one.
I think I got my shredder for $9 at the Salvation Army. They've always got a few.
 
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  • #16
scottdave said:
Maybe you could borrow a goat. :woot:
OR a dog. "Ate my homework, might be true.
 
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Related to How to Safely Dispose of Personal Info w/o Shredders

1. How can I safely dispose of personal information without a shredder?

There are a few alternative methods for safely disposing of personal information without a shredder. One option is to use a black permanent marker to completely cover any sensitive information on documents before disposing of them. Another option is to tear or cut the documents into small pieces before throwing them away. You can also consider using a secure document disposal service.

2. Is burning personal information a safe way to dispose of it?

Burning personal information may seem like a secure method, but it is not recommended. Fires can easily get out of control and may not completely destroy the information. This can result in the risk of the information being recovered by someone else. It is best to avoid burning personal information as a disposal method.

3. How do I dispose of electronic devices with personal information on them?

Electronic devices such as computers, phones, and tablets should be properly wiped clean of all personal information before disposal. This can be done by using a data wiping software or by physically destroying the device. It is important to ensure all personal information is completely removed before disposing of the device.

4. Can I recycle documents with personal information on them?

Recycling personal information is not recommended as it can still be accessed and recovered by others. If you must recycle documents with personal information, make sure to first use a black permanent marker to completely cover any sensitive information. It is also important to use a reputable recycling company that properly disposes of sensitive materials.

5. How can I protect sensitive information while it is being stored for disposal?

If you need to keep personal information before disposing of it, make sure to store it in a secure location such as a locked filing cabinet or safe. Only allow trusted individuals to have access to the information and regularly monitor and track the documents. Once it is time to dispose of the information, follow one of the safe disposal methods mentioned above.

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