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 organizations. These events are very similar to using a paid drop-off service at a shredding company. Your bags or boxes are added to a larger bin for shredding later. Some events may host a mobile shredding truck with immediate on-site data destruction.
Most community shredding events have limits on the amount you can bring, such as restricting you to two or three grocery bags or file/banker boxes (12 x 10 x 15 inches). These community events may also be limited by the capacity of the collection bins or shredding truck. If they reach capacity before the scheduled end of the event, it will end early before the posted time. So, go earlier rather than later if you can.
A few shredding events are not free. Some are fundraisers and a donation to a charitable organization is requested. 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 accountant).
The following organizations list community shredding events throughout the year. Visit their website for details or check our calendar below for upcoming events.
City of Kent free Friday Mini Recycling Events in 2022
Mini Recycling Events take place on the following Fridays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and focus on collecting documents for shredding as well as textiles (Bedding, Clothes, Linens, Shoes, Stuffed toys) and electronics (computers, cell phones, DVD/Blu-ray players, Fax machines, Holiday lights, Keyboards, Mice, Microwaves, Remote controls, Scanners, VCR’s, Wires).
- Friday, April 8: Kent Swim & Tennis Club – 25821 Woodland Way
- Friday, April 22: Hogan Park – 24400 Russell Road
- Friday, May 6: Glenn Nelson Park – 3216 S 268 St
- Friday, May 20: Kent United Methodist Church – 11010 SE 248 St
- Friday, August 5: Glenn Nelson Park – 3216 S 268 St
- Friday, August 19: North Meridian Park – 22828 120 Ave SE
- Friday, August 26: Hogan Park – 24400 Russell Road
- Friday, September 9: Kent United Methodist Church – 11010 SE 248 St
For information about upcoming events, visit KentWA.gov/TalkingTrash.
Pierce County shred events in 2022
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.
- 4/2/2022: DuPont City Hall
- 4/23/2022: Edgewood Police Department
- 5/7/2022: Roy City Hall
- 5/14/2022: Gig Harbor High School
- 5/21/2022: Sprinker Recreation Center
- 6/4/2022: Ford Middle School
- 6/11/2022: UP Refuse
- 9/10/22: Sumner Library
- 9/17/2022: Key Peninsula Fire Station #46
- 9/24/2022: UP Refuse
- 10/1/2022: West Pierce Fire & Rescue Station 21
- 10/8/2022: Pierce County Central Maintenance Facility
- 10/15/2022: Eatonville Community Center
- 10/22/2022: Sprinker Recreation Center
- 10/29/2022: Pierce County Airport – Thun Field
For more information: Shred Events | Pierce County, WA – Official Website (piercecountywa.gov)
FedEx save 40% on in-store shredding thru May 31, 2022
Manage your sensitive mail and documents at select FedEx Office locations near you. Save 40% on in-store shredding from 4/1/2022-5/31/2022. Regularly priced at $1.49/pound. More info: Shredding Services In-Store| FedEx Office
BECU free drive-thru shredding events thru April 16, 2022
For more information, such as limits, visit: Spring Shred Event | BECU
Washington State free shredding events thru Apr 22, 2022
Find community shred events across the Washington State. For more information, such as limits, visit: https://www.atg.wa.gov/community-shred-events
Office Depot and OfficeMAX free shredding April 6-23
- Office Depot and OfficeMAX (multiple Puget Sound locations) offer FREE shredding up to 5 pounds of documents from April 6 to 23 with a printable coupon from the Office Depot website (scroll down, it’s at the bottom of the page).
Renton Police Department free shredding event April 30, 2022
- Hosted by Renton Police Department. Saturday, April 30, 2022. 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (or until trucks are full). Renton Memorial Stadium, 405 Logan Ave N, Renton, WA 98057. For more information, such as limits, visit: Rentonwa.gov/shredathon
LeMay FREE paper shredding events across Western Washington in April 2022
LeMay Mobile Shredding offers free community shredding across Western Washington. For more information, such as limits, visit: Community Shred Events – LeMay (lemaymobileshredding.com)
- APRIL 02, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Windermere | 22017 SE Wax Road, Maple Valley, WA
- APRIL 09, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Olympic Peninsula Academy PTO | 520 Washington St, Sequim, WA
- APRIL 09, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Remax Tacoma | Tacoma
- APRIL 16, 2022. 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. The Anacortes Family Center | Walgreens Parking lot, 909 17th Street, Anacortes, WA
- APRIL 16, 2022. 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Americas Credit Union | 8308 Quinault Dr NE, Lacey, WA
- APRIL 16, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. City of Carnation | Carnation Farmers Market, W Bird Street & Stossel Avenue NE, Carnation, WA
- APRIL 16, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Windermere | 2312 Pacific Avenue SE, Olympia, WA
- APRIL 16, 2022. 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Harborstone Credit Union | 3921 S Meridian, Puyallup, WA
- APRIL 23, 2022. 8:30 am – 2:30 pm. Interstate All Battery | 727 134th Street SW, Everett, WA
- APRIL 23, 2022. 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. City of Lynnwood | 20525 60th Avenue West, Lynnwood, WA
- APRIL 23, 2022. 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Kiwanis Club | Columbia Bank Parking Lot, 208 High School Road NE, Bainbridge Island, WA
- APRIL 23, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Edgewood Police Department | Parking lot of Northwood Elementary 9805 24th Street East, Edgewood, WA
- APRIL 23, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Helen Haller Elementary | JC Penny Parking Lot, 651 W Washington, Sequim, WA
- APRIL 23, 20223. 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Our Community Credit Union | 9710 SW Bank Road, Vashon Island, WA
- APRIL 23, 2022. 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Northwood Elementary | 9805 24th Street East, Edgewood, WA
- APRIL 23, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Lewis County Central Transfer Station | 1411 S Tower Avenue, Centralia, WA
- APRIL 23, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Lutheran Community Services | Parking Lot Sate Farm, 611 East Front Street, Port Angeles, WA
- APRIL 24, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Port Angeles Food Bank | 632 N Oakridge Street, Port Angeles, WA
- APRIL 30, 2022. 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Tapco Credit Union | 7109 Pioneer Square, Gig Harbor, WA
- APRIL 30, 2022. 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Tapco Credit Union | 19371 WA-410 East, Bonney Lake, WA
- APRIL 30, 2022. 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Tapco Credit Union | 6312 19th Street West, Tacoma, WA
- APRIL 30, 2022. 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Tapco Credit Union | 5303 112th Street East, Tacoma, WA
- APRIL 30, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Realogics-Sotheby’s International Realty | 4703 192nd SE, Issaquah, WA
- APRIL 30, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Gig Harbor Midday Rotary | 5775 Soundview Drive Build B, Gig Harbor, WA
- APRIL 30, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Soroptimists | Parking Lot: Gig Harbor Methodist United Church, 7400 Pioneer Way, Gig Harbor, WA
- APRIL 30, 2022. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Frontier Middle School | 22110 108th Avenue East, Graham, WA
- APRIL 30, 2022. 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Harborstone Credit Union | 1445 Galaxy Drive NE, Lacey, WA
Calendar of upcoming shredding events
The following events on our calendar include free and fundraising shredding events throughout the Puget Sound region. Most of these events occur spring through fall.