We all have documents that are integral to living our lives. Whether it is your birth certificate, marriage certificate, or title deeds, keeping such documents is paramount.
There are documents we have that are confidential as well. We all have a right to privacy and ensuring that you keep your information private is vital in protecting your interests.
It is relatively easy for your personal or private information to get into the wrong hands. Though it is easier to access online documents, physical documents can be compromised too. Identity theft and other online scams in particular make use of such confidential documents.
One of the ways of preventing confidential documents from falling into the wrong hands is to dispose of them. There are various ways of disposing of such confidential documents.
The following are seven examples:
1. Tear Them up by Hand
The simplest way to dispose of confidential documents is to tear them up by hand and throw them away. On the other hand, it is the most labor-intensive way of disposing of such documents hence it is a difficult way to do so.
The best part about shredding your documents by hand is that you can do it yourself and it does not require any machines. However, it is not as secure as other methods of disposing of documents.
You should ensure that you tear up the documents into the smallest pieces you can. Ascertain that you tear the most important parts of the documents into the smallest pieces.
When you are done, throw away the pieces into different trash cans or recycle bins. It will make it much harder for anyone to find those documents or piece them together.
2. Burn Them
Fire consumes all and it is a fantastic way for you to dispose of confidential documents. A good fire should be able to burn your documents completely until only a pile of ash remains.
The best way to do this is to use an incinerator which is guaranteed to destroy the documents. Otherwise, you should use a fire pit or even start a fire in a large drum and burn the documents.
Before you burn the documents, you will still want to tear them into small pieces. Otherwise, a large piece could be carried away by the wind while still intact.
Once you put out the fire, evenly distribute the ashes somewhere no one can find them; just in case there are readable pieces in the ash.
One of the most popular ways of disposing of confidential documents is shredding them. Shredding documents is meant to protect the information that is printed on them.
You should use a personal shredder to shred the documents. However, if you don’t have one, you can use a shredding service. Going for quality document shredding services will ensure that the task is done correctly. They will have strong machines that will effectively shred the documents.
It is crucial to note that shredding confidential documents is not a foolproof way of disposing of them. If someone can access the shredded pieces, they can put together the documents. There is an ‘unshredding’ software that has made it much easier to do so.
The higher the security level of a shredder, the higher the chances of properly disposing of confidential documents.
4. Soak Them in Water
A simple method you can use to dispose of confidential documents is to soak them in water. It takes time and diligence but it is very effective if done accurately.
If you want to make the documents completely unreadable, then you should soak them for at least 24 hours. You can use a large bucket or even a bathtub to ensure that they are completely immersed.
After the documents are completely soaked, you should mix the water and paper solution to ensure that they are thoroughly destroyed. Drain the water in a place off your property and then throw away the paper pulp.
You don’t have to use bleach to speed up the process. The water alone will do the job with enough patience.
When most people think of composting, they think of banana peels and lettuce leaves. However, you can add papers to your compost heap and they will be broken down the same as organic waste.
Composting your confidential documents is an environmentally friendly way of disposing of documents without the use of any machines. You simply have to throw the documents into your compost bin and let nature take its course.
You should break down the documents into tiny pieces of paper first before throwing it into the compost. Slowly introduce the paper pieces into your compost for the best results. You should also ensure that the paper is suitable for composting.
There are few things on the planet with the destructive power of acid. If you have confidential documents that you would never want anyone else to read, then you should dispose of them using acid.
To be more specific, you should throw the documents into a bucket and then put in some muriatic acid. The paper will get thoroughly destroyed.
You will need safety equipment such as rubber gloves, safety goggles, and maybe overalls to use this method. Working in a well-ventilated area and using an appropriate respirator mask when dealing with muriatic acid is also very important. You will also need to dispose of the mixture in a toxic waste site which can be inconvenient.
If you have ever had documents in your pockets when putting them in the washing machine, you can attest to their destruction. Therefore, washing documents can be a very effective way of disposing of them.
Therefore, if you have many documents that need to be destroyed, you should put them in a stocking or lingerie bag and throw them into the wash. Run the machine until you are certain that they have been destroyed.
Not all laundromats will allow you to do this so a personal washing machine is often the best option in this regard.
In conclusion, disposing of confidential documents is sometimes mandatory. The seven methods above are some of the most effective ways to dispose of such documents. Some are simpler than others and will depend on the means at your disposal. The key is to find the method that is best for you.