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).
DIY document shredding
If your volume is low, “do-it-yourself” or 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.
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.
The more features you need or want, the more money you will need to spend on 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.
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.
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 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.
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–check with your accountant).
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.
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 drive-thru shredding events
Limit 3 legal sized boxes. Please remain in your vehicle if possible. If you must exit, please wear a face mask. For more information, visit KentWA.gov/TalkingTrash.
- Friday, April 9, 2021 from 1 pm – 4 pm. Scenic Hill Park, 25826 Woodland Way South, Kent, WA 98030
- Friday, April 16, 2021 from 1 pm – 4 pm. Hogan Park, 24400 Russell Road, Kent, WA 98032.
BECU’s free drive-thru shredding events
Protect yourself by shredding old papers that contain personal information (such as credit card statements, paid bills, and medical records) at BECU’s free shredding evens. More info: Spring Shred Event | BECU
They ask you to follow COVID Safety Precautions, remain in your vehicle, and wear a face mask. Shred up to three grocery bags or two banker boxes.
- Saturday, April 10, 2021 from 9 am – 1 pm. Everett Memorial Stadium (Aquasox baseball parking lot on 39th St., past the coffee stand), 3900 Broadway, Everett, WA 98201
- Saturday, April 10, 2021 from 9 am – 1 pm. BECU Tukwila Financial Center, 12770 Gateway Drive, Tukwila, WA 98168
- Saturday, April 10, 2021 from 9 am – 1 pm. BECU Federal Way Pavilions Neighborhood Financial Center, (Note: this is not the Crossings location), 31411 Pacific Hwy S, Federal Way, WA 98003
Free community paper shredding events in Western Washington
LeMay Mobile Shredding offers free community shredding across Western Washington. For more information or upcoming events, visit: Community Shred Events – LeMay (lemaymobileshredding.com)
- April 17, 2021 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Walgreens parking lot, 909 17th Street, Anacortes, WA. Fundraiser for Anacortes Family Center, supporting homeless women, kids and families. Suggested donation $20.00 per box or $10.00 minimum donation.
- April 17, 2021 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Americas Credit Union, 6310 Mount Tacoma Dr SW, Lakewood, WA
- April 17, 2021 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Windermere, 2312 Pacific Avenue SE, Olympia, WA
- April 17, 2021 from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Lutheran Community Services in the Parking Lot at State Farm, 611 East Front Street, Port Angeles, WA. Accepting check or cash donations for back to school supplies.
- April 17, 2021 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Harborstone Credit Union, 136 167th Street South, Spanaway, WA
- April 17, 2021 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. City of Steilacoom, 1030 Roe Street, Steilacoom, WA
- April 17, 2021 from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Windermere, 2601 Westhaven Dr, Westport, WA
- April 24, 2021 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Interstate All Battery, 727 134th Street SW, Everett, WA
- April 24, 2021 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Columbia Bank, 208 High School Road NE, Bainbridge Island, WA. Kiwanis Club collecting cash or check donations.
- April 24, 2021 from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Windermere, 7910 Stinton Avenue, Gig Harbor, WA
- April 24, 2021 from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Windermere, 1200 Bethel Avenue, Port Orchard, WA
- April 24, 2021 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. City of Lynnwood, 20525 60th Avenue West, Lynnwood, WA
- April 24, 2021 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Washington Elementary School, 2615 N Adams Street, Tacoma, WA. Cash or credit card donations suggested amount $20.00 per person.
- April 24, 2021 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Harborstone Credit Union, 207 West Kent Station, Kent, WA
Renton Police Department free shredding event
Hosted by Renton Police Department. Come safely dispose of unused, expired medications and avoid identity theft by having your sensitive personal documents shredded. Bring up to 5 boxes per person. To learn more, visit: Rentonwa.gov/shredathon
- Saturday, April 24, 2021 from 9 am – 12 pm. Renton Memorial Stadium, 405 Logan Ave S, Renton, WA 98057.
Western Washington free shredding events
Find community shred events across the Washington State. Most shred events permit individuals to bring up to two file boxes or three grocery bags of documents. More info: https://www.atg.wa.gov/community-shred-events
Pierce County shred events
Bring your documents to a Pierce County-sponsored shred event. Your information stays private and the shredding is recycled. There may be limits on the amount you can bring. When the truck fills, the event is over. More info: https://www.co.pierce.wa.us/1536/Shred-Events
- Pierce County shred events have been canceled until August 2021 at the earliest.
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.
Friday, April 16, 2021
Saturday, April 17, 2021
Saturday, April 24, 2021
Renton Memorial Stadium, 405 LOGAN AVE N, RENTON, WA 98057
Hogan Park, 24400 Russell Rd, Kent, WA 98032
Windermere North, 4211 Alderwood Mall Blvd, Lynnwood WA 98036
Scenic Hill Park, 25826 Woodland Way South, Kent, WA 98030