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A guide to confidential waste
What is confidential waste?
Confidential waste is materials which companies no longer need to store, but which are private, or which contain information covered by the Data Protection Act of 1998. It is the sort of paperwork that you would not want to be viewed by unauthorised personnel or someone outside the company, particularly if it contains sensitive information about your staff, customers or suppliers.
Failing to dispose of confidential waste can lead to a variety of negative outcomes, not just prosecutions under the law. This could include, for example, identity theft, fraud, and unauthorised copying or sharing or your intellectual property. It could even be deliberately used for industrial espionage.
There is also the possibility of fines, and loss of reputation and customers, if confidential information is leaked via paperwork that was not destroyed promptly.
Some companies ensure that they destroy all documentation that is confidential, protected or restricted, by having a policy of shredding all paperwork and using specialist services to recycle the residual waste.
Confidential waste collection: what types of industries produce confidential waste?
Every private or public sector organisation generates materials that are confidential waste – as they all generate paperwork, including staff records and documentation connected to their organisational processes.
Some types of organisations produce large amounts of paperwork, containing very sensitive information, that they are legally and morally obliged to dispose of effectively. These include:
- Healthcare organisations – such as hospitals, GP surgeries, dental practices and public health commissioned services
- Social care organisations – including elderly care homes, day centres for vulnerable people, youth clubs and substance misuse services
- Governmental organisations – from departments of the Central Government right down to parish councils
- Legal firms – whether they deal with civil or criminal law
- Other professional services – such as insurance brokers and financial advisors.
What are the different types of confidential waste?
The different types of confidential waste include items organisations from every area of the private and public sector, including:
- Personnel files – including CVs and application letters
- Financial records – such as order forms, invoices, bills and statements
- Health records – including notes by medical professionals
- Social care records – such as letters, reports and photographs.
- Criminal Records
However, confidential waste could also cover a range of other items which provide information about your staff, customers or suppliers, such as:
- Business cards
- ID badges
- Security passes
- Letters, memos and other items containing names and addresses.
Other confidential waste may contain information you would not want to share, as it is your intellectual property, or could be used to inform your competitors, including:
- New business proposals
- Business plans
- Used notebooks
- Product samples or profiles
- Research data
Confidential waste disposal: how we can help you
There is strict regulation on how companies should handle and dispose of confidential paperwork. By engaging the services of Business Waste Ltd, you can ensure that you keep pace with the latest laws and guidelines.
Using our services protects you against breaching the Data Protection Act. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) deals with infringements of the Act and can impose fines of up to £500,000.
We provide staff who are trained and accredited in the skills needed to reliably and securely dispose of all your confidential waste. Anyone who comes into contact with your confidential materials will have been vetted under a specialist security screening known as BS7858. This is just one of the ways we can ensure no important information “slips through the net”.
Our confidential waste disposal service involves an audited, trackable process, with full management reporting.
To ensure dealing with confidential waste disposal is done promptly, with minimum disruption, we can offer:
- A high level of discretion
- A personal plan that fits around your organisations
- Advice and expertise on compliance issues
- A dedicated team, available for advice and disposal 24/7
- Nationwide coverage to ensure continuity across multiple sites.
Confidential Waste Bins
Confidential waste bins: what bin do you need for confidential waste disposal?
One of the best ways to be sure that highly sensitive documents are dealt with thoroughly, to the letter of the law, is to use confidential waste bins within your workplace.
Items can be posted into these lockable confidential waste bins, which will be emptied straight into a shredder on a regular basis. This means that no one has access to the information at any point.
Secure bins come in a range of sizes dependent on how much confidential waste your company generates.
Confidential Waste Shredding
What happens to confidential waste once it is collected?
To be sure that all confidential waste is disposed of properly – whether it is confidential waste bags or the contents of lockable confidential waste bins – you need regular collections from your site by our trained and vetted staff. Confidential waste collection is carried out using vehicles that provide locked and trackable transportation. Disposal of confidential materials then takes place within 24 hours of collection.
All of this has an audit trail and results in a certificate of destruction for your company records.
Some firms prefer to have the shredding done on site, where immediately the materials are passed to our specialist confidential waste team. Destruction is then witnessed by a member of staff. This too is audited and results in certification.
Nothing is left to chance, and even the shredded materials don’t end up in landfill. The residual substance that comes out of our thorough shredding process is then chemically and physically “repurposed” to be used in the production of new paper.
Confidential waste disposal domestic
Though much of this article covers commercial confidential waste, private individuals also need to be aware of the dangers of not disposing of sensitive information adequately. Identity theft is a growing issue in the UK, and determined criminals can gain information from your rubbish in creative ways that would shock many householders.
Burning your domestic confidential waste could result in contravening local by-laws and is messy and not environmentally sound.
Instead, you could arrange regular collections of your own private confidential materials by us. We can either shred your household confidential waste on the spot or take it away to deal with it thoroughly and securely at our state-of-the-art recycling centre.
Why you need to contact us today
Confidential waste management is clearly a serious issue, which could have negative repercussions if it is not done properly – whether you are an individual or an organisation.
Particularly as confidential waste can cover a wide range of items, and it has to be destroyed in a way that can be recorded and evidenced, specialist support is vital.
Business Waste Ltd is accredited under the BS EN 15713:2009 standard, which provides a framework of conditions that must be adhered to. This gives our customers the assurance that confidential information is destroyed with security as our highest priority.