The Data Protection Act 2018 brings about stricter rules and regulations regarding the gathering, storage, and disposal of personal, sensitive, and confidential information. It also comes with harsher punishments for organizations and individuals found to be non-compliant. Official advice from the Information Commissioner’s Office on compliance with the Data Protection Act specifies that how paper waste is disposed of should be considered and addressed if necessary.

Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that businesses and organizations know the content of their paper documentation and what needs to be shredded. Here we go over what documentation should be shredded and why. For professional shredding services, click here:

Categories of paper documentation to be shredded


Forms of correspondence can have personal information within, ranging from phone numbers to bank details. All correspondences should be shredded to protect your business and clients/customers.

Bank documents

Bills, invoices, statements, and orders should all be shredded. Banking details should never get into the wrong hands, and limited company numbers, addresses, and names can be found on these documents. Even your own bank statements will contain the bank information for those who you do business with. Your business partners need to be protected by shredding the materials.

Employee documents

Personal information about your staff should also be shredded. Don’t forget to shred application forms, absence forms, or any other kind of medical information. Even employee rotas should be shredded as they contain shift patterns that could be used for criminal activities.


Identity theft is becoming more and more common. Identification used for business practices or kept on file can be used by criminals to commit identity theft. Any copies of identification should be shredded to protect employees and clients from identity theft.

Business plans

The shredding of business plans is more in relation to corporate espionage as opposed to data protection. Shredding all business plans, memos and printed emails prevents other businesses and corporations accessing your private information and gaining a competitive advantage.

Once you have distinguished what paper documentation should be shredded, you must separate this from the other waste. This should be done securely so that no one can access the information enclosed inside. For large amounts of paper waste, shredding companies can offer an enclosed shredding skip that provides security.

Taking the time to properly separate your waste will make sure that your business is complying with the Data Protection Act and no sensitive information will be lost. The categories listed above are not a comprehensive list of documentation that should be shredded; however, they should give you a guideline on how to go about surveying documentation for sensitive information and appropriately dealing with it.

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