How To Choose Your Shredder


Information theft occurs when an individual’s or company’s personal or confidential information is obtained and used by another person without their knowledge. Identity fraud happens when criminals use this information fraudulently to obtain credit, goods or other services in that person’s or company’s name.


Every day you deal with thousands of pieces of information: reports, business plans, financial data, customer pricing, names and addresses, credit card details. Identity thieves will “raid” your rubbish bin to steal this information – they may even steal your bin bags to rummage through them at their own leisure. It’s faster, easier and can be even more lucrative than burglary. To a fraudster the information you throw out is worth its weight in gold.

Information theft is one of the fastest growing crimes and continues to rise at an astounding rate. It’s not only individuals that are putting themselves at risk – but also businesses and organisations putting their customers and employees at risk by not disposing of personal information securely.

All countries have data protection legislation in place to ensure that companies dispose of documents safely and securely. But businesses should also consider the prospect of damaging their business and losing customer confidence by not disposing of information securely and therefore putting people at risk.

Benefits of On-Site Shredding

  • Ensures documents are disposed of safely and securely.Protects your employee, customer and supplier information ensuring they have confidence in your company.
  • Increased security as documents do not have to be stored prior to disposal.
  • Convenient because you can shred when you need to rather than having to store them until they are collected.
  • Increase internal compliance with document disposal policy because employees are more likely to shred if they can do it when they need to.
  • Cheaper than off-site shredding as it only requires a one off investment rather than continual payments.


Every piece of paper or document that contains some form of information or data that may be of use to criminals, fraudsters or competitors should be shredded before it is thrown in the bin or recycled. Confidential documents are obvious and the people who have access to them will be aware of their importance and how to dispose of them. It’s the pieces of information that don’t seem important which are likely to slip through the net.

77% of rubbish contains information which can be used to steal an identity

Personal Documents

  • Bank/Credit card statements
  • Credit/Debit card receipts
  • Utility bills
  • Voided/cancelled cheques
  • Documents showing signatures
  • Tax returns

Company Documents

  • Client lists
  • Salary details
  • Sales figures
  • Financial reports
  • Personnel files/CVs
  • Patent information
  • Medical records
  • Legal documents
  • Letter-headed paper



What type of shred?

Strip cut is the most common and popular type of shredder, creating thin strips as it shreds. Less complicated mechanically than other paper shredders, they offer the user a higher capacity and a lower purchase price than the other type.

Cross cut (sometimes referred to a 'confetti' cut) provides a higher degree of security than strip cut paper shredders. Cross cut shredders create crisscross cut pieces of paper. There is a variation of the cross cut shredder called a Micro Cut. The difference is that the shred size is much smaller that literally turns paper into dust and offers highest level of security. It reduces the 'bulk' of the shredded materials to allow the shredder bag to hold more material.

How sensitive is the material you need to shred?

Shredders cut paper into smaller, unrecognisable pieces of paper. Different shredders shred paper into different sizes of paper. The more important the document, the more important it is to use a shredder that will shred the documents into very small pieces (please see Security levels below).

How often will you need to use your shredder? One large shredder, or several smaller shredders?

You will need to take into consideration how often you will be using your paper shredder. Some paper shredders are made only for shredding documents a few times per week, where other shredders can be used continuously. Consider the bin capacity of the shredder. Usually referred to in litres. Cross-cut waste will compact under its own weight reducing the bulk and reducing the frequency with which the bin needs to be emptied. Purchasing a shredder that cannot handle the volume of shredding you need can be very frustrating.

Some offices will buy one large shredder for all their shredding needs, where other offices will purchase several smaller shredders and place them throughout the office.

How many sheets do you need to shred at a time?

Different shredders can shred different amounts of paper. Smaller shredders can only handle a few sheets of paper, where larger shredders can shred many sheets of paper at a time. Strip cut shredders can always shred more paper at a time than a cross cut shredder but you do sacrifice the level of security!

What size of paper do you need to shred?

Some shredders are designed to shred small letters and A4 documents, where other shredders can shred newspapers, phone books and computer printouts. A shredder's entry width will determine this. You will want to take into consideration what you will need to shred now and what you will be shredding in the future.


What level of security do you require? Consider the following when making your choice. Most ranges of machines or product groups can be supplied in several different shred sizes, most commonly referred to DIN 32757-1 standards:

Level 1 General - Low Security (DIN 1)
This level of security is generally acceptable for home use. Machines will normally shred into long strips cutting a sheet of A4 paper into about 40 parts. Shred sizes can be up to 12 mm. Useful for general information but not for information that may contain bank account details or passwords etc.

Level 2 Internal - Low to Medium Security (DIN 2)
Would still be long strips but of a much narrower size, cutting a sheet of A4 into 100 strips. Sizes of shred would be under 6 mm. For all internal home or small office information.

Level 3 Confidential – Medium Security (DIN 3)
Machines normally cut paper waste into very narrow strips under 2 mm or in Cross-Cut particles (like confetti) of a maximum size of 4 mm x 80 mm or particle area of less than and equal to 320 sq. mm. For all Confidential documents including Staff personnel details, Company secrets, sales and marketing plans etc.

Level 4 Secret – Medium to High Security (DIN 4)
All models must shred documents into Cross Cut particles of a maximum size of 2 mm x 15 mm or particle area of less than and equal to 30 sq. mm. Secret documents may include those which may jeopardise personal or institutional safety if they were to fall into the wrong hands.

Level 5 Top Secret – High Security (DIN 5)
Machines will shred to a maximum Cross Cut particle size of 0.8 mm x 13 mm or particle area of less than and equal to 10 These products are specifically supplied to Government/Military installations where documents must be shredded to avoid espionage and where information may undermine State defence.

Level 6 Maximum – Highest Security
This is an unofficial level for Europe, but is recognised as being the very highest security level available for Government/Military installations in America (NSA/CSS specification). Maximum Cross-Cut particle size of 1 mm x 5 mm or particle area of less than and equal to 5