Shredding services are inexpensive and easy to do. Compared to the cost of fixing your credit if your identity is stolen, it’s truly a bargain.
To protect yourself from identity theft, it is very important to securely destroy routine, but sensitive information. Merely tossing it in the trash or recycle bin is a habit you may one day regret.
Listed below are several ways to shred sensitive materials. You can choose convenient methods at modest cost or take advantage of seasonal free community shredding events.
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What to shred
Here are some of the common documents you need to shred:
- Bank account and credit card statements
- Insurance policies, contracts, and other legal documents
- Medical records
- Cancelled checks, Invoices, receipts, and pay stubs
- Documents with signatures, addresses, social security numbers, or telephone numbers
Shred these and any other documents containing personal information that someone could use to steal your identity and create serious credit problems that can take many years to resolve.
Data destruction and shredding companies
These are several companies who provide shredding services for a fee. A paid service is useful for small businesses as well as individuals for large projects, such as when moving or downsizing.
Depending on your needs, some companies do more than just shred paper. Some can accept mixed media, including: hanging folders, plastic folders, compact discs, ring binders, and more.
Puget Sound shredding companies
These companies Puget Sound region offer industrial services that include not only paper shredding but data destruction on any type of media. Services vary, many offer economical drop-off service, pick-up service with offsite data destruction, and mobile or on-site shredding at your location. Check their website for details and pricing.
- Allshred in Bremerton
- SeaDruNar Recycling in south Seattle
- American Shredding in Tacoma
- ProShred in Tukwila
- LeMay Mobile Shredding in Western Washington & Oregon
National shredding services
The following national chain stores offer shredding services at stores nationwide. They charge by the pound, which is useful if you are shredding small amounts (less than one box). Otherwise, drop-off shredding is a better deal.
How to save on shredding costs
The least expensive service is drop-off shredding. In this case, your documents are added to a larger batch that combines documents from multiple customers to be destroyed later. Your documents should be placed in a locked and secure holding bin while awaiting their destruction.
Drop-off is usually priced by the file/banker box and can be as little as $10 per box. Smaller amounts may be charged by the pound. To get the most shredding for your money, remove materials that do not contain sensitive information, such as file folders, instruction booklets, and other non-personal materials.
Pick-up service for files to be collected and destroyed later may be priced higher than drop-off or may require minimums. Mobile shredding is an enhanced service that shreds materials at your location. Pick-up or mobile on-site service is an affordable option for businesses that have large volumes of sensitive documents. For either type, you can request a one-time or occasional purge, or schedule regular on-going service (such as monthly or quarterly, depending on your volume).
If your volume is low, “do-it-yourself” or DIY shredding may be a better option. We offer more advice on DIY shredding options below.
DIY document shredding
DIY shredding using a small home office machine is relatively inexpensive and convenient. The average cost of a home shredder is $50-$100. You can find shredders at slightly lower prices and of course at much higher prices.
Before you purchase a machine, be sure to confirm with your garbage collection service about the correct way to dispose of shredded paper. The correct type of disposal bin can vary depending on whether the paper is straight cut or cross-cut. For some services, straight-cut is placed in the recycling bin, while in others it goes in the compost or green waste bin. Cross-cut shredded material may also go in the garbage bin because it is neither recyclable or compostable–it depends entirely on the garbage collection service where you live.
A lower priced shredder will have limited sheet capacity, cut the paper in long strips, may require removal of staples, will require removal of paper clips, and may not shred materials other than paper, such as thick cardboard or plastic credit cards. For many households, careful attention to sorting paper and removing staples for use in a lower priced model should provide several years of shredding capability.
If you need or want more features, you will need to spend more money on a shredding machine. A cross-cut shredder, which cuts documents in two directions and destroys the information more thoroughly will cost more than a less expensive straight-cut model.
If your household has lots of paper mail such as credit card statements, utility bills, and other documents, or if you run a home business, your shredding needs will be higher volume and more frequent. In this case, the DIY route may not be your best option and you may need more volume or regular service from one of the above data destruction companies. Keep in mind that drop-off service can be very cost effective for homeowners and small businesses. If you require only a few boxes per year, drop-off service is a more economical choice over buying a shredding machine for home or office use.
But there is one more shredding method that is cheaper—namely, free community shredding events.
Free community shredding events
Free paper shredding events are hosted throughout the year by various communities and organizations. These events are similar to paid drop-off service at a shredding company—your bags or boxes are added to a larger bin for shredding later. Most community shredding events have limits on the amount you can bring. These community events may also be limited by the capacity of the collection bins. If they reach capacity before the scheduled end of the event, it will end early. So, go earlier rather than later if you can.
A few shredding events are not free. Some are fundraisers that request a donation to a charitable organization. The suggested fee may be higher than a paid drop-off service. But it’s for a good cause—and may be a tax deduction, so check with your tax adviser.
The following organizations list community shredding events throughout the year. Visit their website for more infomation on what is acceptable. Some also accept other recyclables or even donations to the local food bank or other charitable organization.
BECU drive-thru shredding events + food/clothing drive
Free Shred Events every spring in Tukwila, Federal Way, and Everett They’ll also collect cash and nonperishable donations to support a non-profit in your neighborhood. All events will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., or until the trucks are full. For more information: Spring Shred and eCycle Event | BECU
- Saturday, Oct. 21: 9a.m. to 1 p.m. BECU Tukwila Financial Center, 12770 Gateway Drive, Tukwila, WA 98168. The Tukwila Food Bank will be on-site to collect cash and nonperishables. Northwest Center will collect clothing and small household items.
- Saturday, Oct 21: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. BECU Federal Way Pavilions Neighborhood Financial Center (Note: this is not the Crossings location), 31411 Pacific Highway South, Federal Way, WA 98003. Multi-Service Center will be on-site to collect cash and nonperishables. Northwest Center will collect clothing and small household items. Televisions greater than 4 ft. tall will not be accepted at this location.
- Saturday, Oct 21: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Everett Mall (Enter on East Mall Drive and continue around the back of the mall past Floor and Décor. The event entrance will be on the south end of the mall.), 1510 SE Everett Mall Way, Everett, WA 98208. Salt of the Earth’s Food Bank will be on-site to collect cash and nonperishables. Northwest Center will collect clothing and small household items.
Federal Way free recycling events
- Saturday, October 14, 2023 from 10am to 2pm. Recycle old and broken electronics and appliances and shred your confidential documents on site. More info: Appliance and Electronics Recycling with Shredding | SouthKingTools
Kenmore/Lake Forest Park Fall Recycling Events
Residential recycling events are held two times a year, in spring and fall. More info: City Residential Recycling Events | City of Kenmore Washington
Kent Recycling Events
Each year the City of Kent hosts a number of FREE recycling collection events that allow residents to dispose of recyclable items not typically accepted at the curb. More info: Recycling Collection Events | City of Kent (kentwa.gov)
Mini Recycling Events take place on the following Fridays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and focus on collecting TV’s & Electronics, Document Shredding, and Paint.
Traditional Recycling Events accept only the following items: Appliances, Batteries, Bulky yard debris (spring and summer only), Cardboard, CFC appliances, Concrete & Brick& Rock (summer and fall only), Documents for shredding, Electronics (No TV’s or monitors), Mattresses/futons & box springs, Porcelain (toilets, tubs, sinks), Propane tanks, Scrap metal, Styrofoam, Tires (Passenger tires only – limit 10 – spring and fall only), Textiles
- Fall: Saturday, October 14. Hogan Park, 24400 Russell Road
LeMay FREE paper shredding events
LeMay Mobile Shredding offers free community shredding across Western Washington. For more information: LeMay Mobile Shredding – Events
- 07 OCTOBER SATURDAY 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Kitsap Bank-Gig Harbor | 4714 Pt. Fosdick Drive NW, Gig Harbor, WA
- 07 OCTOBER SATURDAY 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Kitsap Bank-Port Orchard | 3324 Bethel Road SE, Port Orchard, WA
- 07 OCTOBER SATURDAY 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Sprinker Recreation | 14824 C Street S, Tacoma, WA
Office Depot free 5lb shredding thru April 29
Office Depot is makes tax season less, uh, taxing! by offering FREE in-store shredding service during the month of April at Office Depot or OfficeMax—regularly $.99 per pound. However, you do have to pay the sales tax.
Pierce County free shredding events 2023
Remember to ONLY bring paper documents containing sensitive information to these events. Staples, paper clips, and rubber bands can be shredded and do not need to be removed. All shred events will be from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or until the truck is full. For more information: Shred Events | Pierce County, WA – Official Website (piercecountywa.gov)
- 10/7/2023: Parkland/Spanaway Sprinker Recreation Center
- 10/14/2023: Eatonville Community Center
- 10/21/2023: Sumner Library
- 10/28/2023: South Hill Pierce County Airport
Renton drive-thru shredding, Rx takeback, and foodbank event April 15, 2023
- Saturday, April 15, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (or until trucks are full) at Renton Memorial Stadium. Shred-a-thon and prescription RX takeback event. Canned, dry goods, and monetary donations will be accepted to benefit the Renton Salvation Army Food Bank. More info: Shred-A-Thon & Prescription Drug Take Back – City of Renton (rentonwa.gov)
Western Washington free shredding events
Community shred events sponsored by Washington State. For more information: Community Shred Events | Washington State
Calendar of upcoming recycling events
The following events on our calendar include recycling events of all kinds that help you reduce, reuse, and cycle (e.g. consignment, flea markets, garage/yard sales, repair cafes, shredding & recycling, etc.).
Saturday, December 9, 2023
Thursday, December 14, 2023
Saturday, December 16, 2023
Sunday, December 17, 2023
Thursday, December 21, 2023
Saturday, December 23, 2023
Thursday, December 28, 2023
Saturday, December 30, 2023
Wednesday, January 3, 2024
Thursday, January 4, 2024
Saturday, January 6, 2024
Thursday, January 11, 2024
Thursday, January 18, 2024
Thursday, January 25, 2024
Thursday, February 1, 2024
Saturday, February 3, 2024