Why it’s important not to let standards slip over confidential data disposal

Why it’s important not to let standards slip over confidential data disposal

Some days, we bring our A-game. Other days, we’re happy to let things slide a little…but that’s a terrible idea when it comes to your confidential data disposal.

One slip, like throwing out a document containing sensitive information without shredding it, could land your business with a massive headache and a large fine. For example, one London pharmacy was fined £275,000 after it left confidential waste in unlocked containers outside its site.

To avoid that, your confidential data disposal processes must be consistent, and your employees must adhere to them strictly.


What is confidential data?

This is data which contains any kind of confidential information which might identify someone – from names and addresses and email addresses to bank details, national insurance numbers, and personnel records.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which governs the storage and processing of this data also includes IP addresses in this category.


What does GDPR say about confidential data disposal?

It says this data must be gathered in the correct way, stored securely, and processed and disposed of safely.

In other words, your business needs to have processes in place to ensure data is stored securely online and in physical documents.

A data controller must be appointed to oversee this.

If there is any data breach involving confidential data, this must be reported to the regulator within 72 hours. In the most serious cases, where there could be financial loss or risk to the people whose data was breached, they must also be informed directly by a business.

If the business’s processes fail, causing a serious breach, then it could face a fine of up to 4% of worldwide annual turnover, or two million euros. The fine limit for less serious breaches is 2% of worldwide annual turnover or ten million euros.


How should your business protect itself?

It needs robust cybersecurity to protect your computers and information held online in the cloud.

It also needs to ensure confidential documents and old hard drives are shredded to prevent data from falling into the wrong hands.

Outsourcing your confidential document shredding to a secure shredding company like Venture Waste makes so much sense.

Your staff are freed up to help customers, chase new business, and deliver your goods or services.

You get the peace of mind of shredding to the size of a dust particle, if necessary, by vetted workers at licensed facilities with 24-hour security.

You could also opt for on-site or mobile shredding at your premises, so your sensitive information doesn’t have to leave your site before the documents are destroyed.

Hard drive shredding means no clever hacker is going to be able to retrieve deleted files.

Your business is issued with certificates of destruction for every load which you can show to any regulator like the Information Commissioner as proof of its responsible attitude to confidential data disposal.

The paper and metals produced by the shredding are mixed with other loads and recycled, making your business more sustainable.

How would the UK government’s planned resources and waste strategy affect your business?

How would the UK government’s planned resources and waste strategy affect your business?

The UK government has ambitious plans to change the way England deals with business waste, moving towards a circular economy.

Its proposed Resources and Waste Strategy for England aims to bring the country into line with what’s already been happening in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If this strategy is implemented, businesses and households will need to reduce the amount of resources used, recycle more, and re-use them wherever possible. The amount of business waste must be reduced, and innovative, creative methods need to be employed to achieve that.

Alongside that, there is the principle that the ‘polluter pays’. In other words, manufacturers and producers will bear more of the burden for dealing with waste they create.

The strategy also puts forward legal and financial incentives for businesses to do the right thing, and it says there will be better information about waste reduction and better recycling infrastructure.


What are the aims of the government’s strategy?

The government’s proposed strategy aims to eliminate avoidable waste by 2050 and work towards a doubling of productivity when using resources. 

It looks at eight areas:

  • How resources are managed and recovered
  • Changing consumer behaviour
  • Dealing with waste crime
  • Cutting out food waste
  • Making production sustainable
  • Promoting research and innovation
  • Measuring progress
  • What Britain’s role will be globally



What will you need to do about your business waste?

The proposed strategy is out for consultation. If the plan is adopted, you will need to review your business’s current waste and recycling arrangements to see if they match the strategy.

Simply having general business waste collections won’t be enough to comply with it. As a minimum requirement, you’ll need to make sure you have a food waste recycling service and a dry mixed recycling service in place.

You’ll also need to separate difficult to recycle waste from the other recycling so that loads are not spoiled by it.

The drinks industry would see a deposit return scheme for containers of drinks on the go such as bottled water and coffee. The government says its studies have shown this could boost recycling rates in this sector by 20%.

For retailers, this means looking at how you would deal with deposits in till operations. For manufacturers, there are the issues of storing returned bottles and cups and processing them.

The strategy aims to increase the packaging waste recycling rate to 70% by making packaging producers financially responsible for dealing with it, giving local authorities a useful new source of funding.

Businesses would also be encouraged to ensure their plastics were recyclable thanks to a tax on plastic packaging which is composed of less than 30% recyclable materials, the strategy says.


Will your business need help to get ready for the new plans? Call our experienced business waste consultants on 0333 3600265

Off-site shredding v secure mobile shredding – how does my business choose?


When your business decides it needs to destroy its confidential waste, there is something important you need to weigh up – off-site shredding v secure mobile shredding.

Your business must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ensure the data you hold about your clients and suppliers is treated responsibly.

What’s the best way to ensure your shredding regime achieves that goal?

Here’s our guide to off-site shredding v secure mobile shredding…


What is secure mobile shredding?


Often called on-site shredding, this is when a shredding company brings its van to your premises.

The van contains a mobile shredder and your documents are destroyed at your site.

You are issued with an immediate certificate of destruction and we take the shredded material away for recycling.

To ensure we can do our work securely, you’ll need a place at your site which cannot be accessed by the public. 


Why choose it?


Your sensitive documents don’t have to leave your site before they are destroyed, giving you peace of mind that the information included in them cannot be accessed and the data protection rules breached.

You can even watch them being shredded.

This is therefore a good fit for accountants, financial advisors, banks, law firms, dental practices, GP surgeries, opticians, and care providers.

An industrial-sized shredder is used which shreds thousands of document pages in minutes, a far quicker option than getting a member of staff to feed an office shredder by hand.


What is off-site shredding?


Your confidential waste is sent in GPS-tracked vans to secure facilities where vetted staff destroy it.

You are then sent a certificate of destruction and your waste is recycled.

The premises used for shredding are licensed and have 24-hour security. The staff used to transport your waste are vetted too.


Why choose it?


If you don’t produce sensitive waste such as medical records or accounts, this could well be the best fit for your company.

Many businesses find this is a cost-effective option for them as it helps you comply with GDPR and frees up your staff to do other things. Think about how effective your business could be if you had more staff chasing new business or dealing with customer enquiries.

Some businesses also don’t have secure areas where secure mobile vans could carry out shredding, particularly those which are home-based or micro-businesses.


Need help with the off-site shredding v secure mobile shredding decision?


Our experienced waste consultants are happy to advise you on the best fit for your business.

Call us on 0333 3600265