Calendar A-Z Index School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Shredding Stuff

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Securing paper documents means shredding them if they are no longer needed. It is not safe to put paper documents in the trash, or worse, the recycling bin, without taking care that they are securely shredded first!

In general, if a document containing sensitive data is printed just for convenience or reference, it should be shredded as soon as the need for the printout has passed.

But many times people have old paper documents around the office that they think they are required to keep, such as student records information or financial information. These may contain sensitive information for the same reason that electronic files do: they are remnants from an old process that used SSN's as identifiers; the paper used to track certain data that is now tracked electronically (such as old credit card authorization forms or timesheets); etc.

If you have paper records that you'd like to get rid of by shredding them, but you are not sure whether you are required to keep them, you can consult the University's record retention schedule for guidance.

If you have a large volume of paper documents that you want to shred, but you think your little under-desk shredder is not up to the task, you have other options for securely disposing of them. The University Records Center can help. They can arrange for a secure shredding bin to be delivered and picked up from your office. In extreme cases, they can help you arrange for a shredding truck if you think a garbage-can-sized bin is not enough.