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We talk a lot – and I mean A LOT about shredding, paper and data. Despite seeming like there’s not much to say, in reality there’s still so much we want to cover! This month we wanted to surprise you with some interesting facts around shredding, paper and recycling that you may not have heard before. So sit back and enjoy this, more light hearted post.

The Shredder Is 107 Years Old

It might seem like a modern design – especially it yours contains a motor, but the idea and design of the shredder is actually 107 years old this year. The original design and patent for one was filed by August Low from New York in February of 1909. The patent was accepted on August 31st in the same year, but it was never actually created. Instead the first working shredder to be manufactured was built by Adolf Ehinger in 1935. It functioned like a pasta machine, with a hand crank to turn the blades, and he invented it to destroy his collection of anti-Nazi propaganda after Hitler’s rise to power. The hand crank mechanism was eventually replaced with a motor in 1959.

A Revolution

While the shredder was invented 107 years ago, it wasn’t really considered a household name until much later on. Richard Nixon takes some credit for thrusting the humble shredder into the limelight, when he used a simple model to shred massive quantities of documents as part of the Watergate scandal cover-up in the 1970’s. But that just meant more people were aware of this method of destroying documents. A few years later a group of Iran revolutionaries prompted the evolution of more secure models of shredder. They meticulously pieced together hundreds of shredded documents collected from the US Embassy in order to decipher what they contained. After this huge information breach, cross cut shredding was developed and became an industry standard for security and compliance.

We Still Waste A Lot

Despite the efforts of thousands to get us recycling more, every year, enough paper is thrown into landfill sites to build a 12-inch wall from New York to California. That’s 34 million tons. In a total of 250 million tons of landfill waste, paper made up a shocking 34%. While every effort is being made to encourage people to recycle more, poor recycling habits, lack of awareness and a limited collection infrastructure mean that this number will likely stay the same for years to come. But out of that 34 million tons of paper that is sent to landfill, only 18% of it would be deemed as ‘unrecyclable’. When producing recycled paper takes 70% less energy than creating new paper, it’s a no brainer.

In America, Discarded Paper Is Public Property

It’s true! In 2009 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a person’s rubbish may be searched without a warrant, even if the bin is on private property but easily accessed from a public place – like a pavement, alleyway or the street. In other words, paper that is thrown away in American can be picked up and used by absolutely anyone. Yikes! Over here that would be a problem for so many of us – the ones who just throw all of their paper into the recycling bin without shredding it. Just think of how many bank statements, bills and bits of junk mail would be up for grabs if you were willing to dig through someone’s bin. Thankfully, that’s not the case over here!

We hope you’re enjoyed this post and learned something new about the world of shredding at the same time! For more information, or to find out what happens to your paper after you hand it over for shredding, get in touch with us today.