While more people switch to paperless life, thanks to advancement of Internet, chances are you still go through a reasonable amount of documents containing sensitive information. This includes your bank statements, financial documents, tax returns, credit applications, receipts, and many others.
Some people shred such documents diligently, others take their chances and recycle just like any other paper products.
Personally, I’m a big fan of shredding anything containing my personal information, and I would advise you to do the same for these reasons:
Protect your identity from being stolen
In 2012, about 17 million US citizens over the age of 16 had at least one incident dealing with identity theft. Identity theft can cause financial problems, as criminals can open multiple accounts under your name and rack up charges. While the countermeasures do exist, it’s much easier to fight the problem at the source by shredding all such documents.
Protect your customers
If you own a business or deal with customers’ information at work, you are directly responsible for preventing your customers information falling into the wrong hands. When your customers give you their personal information, including social insurance numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and credit card info, they should be one hundred percent sure this information is safe and secure. If one of your customers runs into problems with identity theft, you might be found liable. There’s also a matter of damage to your reputation and lost business.
There are numerous laws and regulations regarding the protection of your customers’ information. If your customers entrust you with their information, you want to make sure you never compromise that trust.
You’ll save space
While keeping sensitive documents instead of simply throwing them out sounds like a great idea, over the years it might lead to dozens of banker boxes taking up precious space in your basement or your office. Consider freeing up some space by shredding all documents that are no longer necessary. Figure out which papers are safe to destroy and start shredding.
All shredding companies are required by law to recycle the paper after shredding. This makes it a great alternative to burning your documents or simply throwing them into garbage bin. Every metric tonne of paper being recycled saves 7,000 litres of water, saves between 17 and 31 trees, avoids using 4000KWh of energy, and prevents 60 pounds of air borne pollutants from being expelled into the atmosphere.
I’m a bit on the paranoid side, and shred everything that has my personal information.
Here is a list of documents you might want to consider shredding instead of throwing into garbage the garbage:
Bank and investment statements
Voided and blank checks
Documents containing your credit card information
Copies of sales receipts
Any documents containing your name, address, phone numbers, dates of birth, social insurance number
Were you waiting for a chance to shred your documents? Well, the wait is over!
On Saturday, April 23rd, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? of Okanagan is hosting its Annual eWaste Disposal and Paper Shredding Event. This will be your chance to recycle electronics free of charge and also to shred all your sensitive documents right in front of you.
Date and time: Saturday, April 23, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: Okanagan College, Kelowna Campus – 1000 KLO Rd. Kelowna, BC
TVs and accessories
Computers and laptops along with computer peripherals
Cables and batteries
And almost everything else with a power cable
Onsite paper shredding will be available by Okanagan Paper Shredding ($5/banker box)
We’ll also be accepting donations to Kelowna Food Bank. All proceeds will also be donated to KFB.
Compulsive hoarding is a pattern of behaviour by people who are unwilling and/or unable to throw away the large quantities of household objects in their homes, to the point that it causes a significant amount of distress.
While seemingly harmless in the beginning, hoarding slowly starts to affect individuals in a number of ways. It affects their relationships with friends and family, and can have a profound effect on living conditions in their house. As well, it can affect economically by burdening them with the extra expenses of supporting the behaviour. In extreme cases, it can cause health and sanitation concerns, along with higher safety risks.
On the surface, individuals suffering from this disorder can appear as simply unclean or disorganized, but it’s important to understand that in most cases hoarding is linked to emotional issues, and is not a choice to live that way. Sometimes it’s linked to emotional trauma, or loss in the family, and hoarding is simply one of the ways the mind chooses to cope. Nobody wakes up one day and decides to be a hoarder.
Hoarding also comes in many forms and fashions. For example, animal hoarding is recognized as a subtype of a hoarding disorder. In this case, individuals acquire and house multiple animals in their home, often to the point of causing distress to the animals and harming their well-being.
Food hoarders choose to hoard obsessive amounts of food - often enough to feed themselves for decades.
Book hoarding is also viewed as a subtype of hoarding disorder.
I’ve encountered many hoarding situations. Being in the business of junk removal, hoarding projects sometimes pop up on our schedule. Generally it involves friends and relatives trying to help someone with a hoarding disorder by organizing a cleanup. Sometimes, though it’s too late – and we show up at a house in need of a cleanup up before being sold as a foreclosure.
We see houses stuffed with items that may or may not be useful. Items bought at nearby stores will by lying next to stacks of old Yellow Pages books collected over the years, along with newspapers, coupons, broken kitchen equipment, clothing, freebies, and random pieces of lumber.
Often the items purchased are still in the original packaging, never opened, and still displaying price labels. Sometimes items are neatly stacked by type. Other times there are piles of items all over the house, with no rhyme or reason.
You’d be surprised by how neat hoarder houses can look from the outside. Just because somebody is a hoarder doesn’t mean their front yard will be littered with random items (though this happens as well). In my experience, a lot of hoarders limit themselves to the inside of their house, and maintain a great appearance outside. It’s when you step inside the house that you get to see beds filled with used clothing, and tubs overflowing with old newspapers.
In the junk business, we’re often asked about the weird items we find on the job. The truth of the matter is, we mostly deal with boring junk on the job. Sometimes furniture, sometimes appliances, and sometimes construction debris, but just once in a while we come across something completely out of the norm. And sometimes it’s just hilarious what we find.
Here is a list for your consideration. Hopefully it puts a smile on your face.
Gathering of the mannequins
Lots and lots of mannequins. Simply because we deal with a lot of retails locations, we do often come across mannequins. Sometimes our entire load is nothing but mannequins. Feels weird to have a full load of human-looking objects in the truck.
Let's go for a bike ride, no, let's mow the lawn, no, wait, I have an idea
This Frankenstein of an appliance was created in someone’s garage. While I find the engineering thought behind it simply revolutionary, I fail to see the practical side of it. Then again, I’m a fan of old-fashioned people-powered bikes.
Full truck of beer, party time
The bad news is, it was all expired. The good news is, it was just Bud Light.
Hush, puppy: giant dog bone
I don’t know what would possesses somebody to create such a thing, but then again it’s not the weirdest thing we’ve seen on the job. Sometimes people are just very passionate about something, and want to show it in everyday life.
A bucket of kittens
While cleaning out a foreclosed property, one of our teams in Australia came across a bucket of kittens. The kittens were in poor shape and starving, but were immediately provided food and water, then dropped off at a local shelter and adopted shortly after.
Other items that didn’t make the list include John Wayne’s bible, giant cell phone, doughnut costume, twelve foot statue of Jesus, working volcano model, and an illegal shipment of cigarettes.
Years spent in the junk removal industry can sure change your perspective on the world around you.
Police officers who deal with crimes on everyday basis can tell you things about our society that you wouldn’t otherwise know.
Doctors can spot major trends in healthcare and the way people take care of themselves (or don’t).
After spending close to eight years hauling other people’s junk, I’m starting to see the ways that waste and recycling impacts our society on a large scale.
Let’s face it - as a society, we are quite wasteful. Our parents and grandparents lived very differently. It’s neither good nor bad, but our life is quite different from 50 years ago.
I’m old enough to remember that some furniture pieces would stay in family for decades. Nowadays, a quick trip to IKEA can furnish your house from top to bottom at a very reasonable cost.
When I was growing up, our TV had been fixed numerous times both by my dad and the TV repair man. I’m not even sure if TV repair men still have jobs today, because nobody seems to be fixing TVs anymore. It’s easier to go buy a new one.
I’ve stumbled upon this quick video on YouTube discussing this trend in our society:
The Story of Stuff
Whether you agree with the author or not, I think the video poses some good questions. It will make you think.
Think about the things we buy.
Think of where these things come from.
Think about what will happen to our things once we’re done with them.
Think how the way we live impacts our environment and infrastructure.
Think if there is a better way to live.
I’m not saying ‘let’s go back to the way our grandparents lived!’ . . . but isn’t there some sort of happy medium we can find?
We strive to be better in our society, and to be more aware and positive about our environment. But you can’t expect to get a different result if you don’t change the way you, personally, do things.
I ask you to watch this video in full. Perhaps it will put you into thinking mode as well.
If even half of us change our habits just ever so slightly, the results will be tremendous.
More Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! articles
- Couch to go Dec 14
- Just do it Nov 9
- The future looks good Oct 12
- Valuable clutter Jun 23
- When tenants leave junk behind Feb 26
- Weird junk at the dump Dec 10
- Why clutter matters Sep 14
- Host an AWESOME yard sale! Jun 24
- Storage ideas for your next project May 23
- Clean together as a family Mar 23
- Creative ways of reusing old electronics! Feb 21
- A resolution to de-clutter Jan 20