On-Site or Off-Site Shredding?

Want Your Paper Shredded at Your Place or Ours?


When making a decision between off-site and on-site shredding, there are a few key points to consider.

First, the definitions. Off-site shredding means that material is transported in locked, GPS-monitored trucks to our secure shredding facility.

On-site is the same as mobile shredding — a shredding truck comes to you and the paper is shredded at the premises.

Second, the considerations. Arguments for one or the other include questions like:

  • What is the more secure method?
  • What is the most environmentally-friendly choice?
  • What does each cost?
  • What’s right for my business?

All good questions, which hopefully we will shed some light on for you. But the most important takeaway is that you, the customer, should ultimately have a choice rather than be subject to your vendor’s decision.

You’re in Luck! American Mobile Shredding, a Pacific Company, Does Both.

Every business today deals with some kind of confidential information and needs to be concerned about security. At AMS, both our on-site and off-site shredding services are completely secure.

So how do you know what’s best for you?

On-site mobile?

When the idea of mobile shredding was first introduced, “On-site, done right” was the popular slogan. While secure, it is generally more expensive than off-site shredding, and it can have a greater carbon footprint than having your shredding done off-site.

Why? The truck’s engine must run to operate the shredder, consuming more fuel and emitting carbon monoxide. In buildings with enclosed docks, some facility managers have prohibited shredding at the dock because of noise and air pollution complaints, forcing the trucks out into the street. However, for those businesses with internal policies that require an employee to be there at all stages of document transport and shredding, mobile shredding is a good choice.

In addition, when you choose AMS for on-site shredding, you have a complete chain of custody from point of pickup to shipment for recycling. We don’t dump at the recycler who’s closest when the truck is full. We dump at our secure facility and we know the final destination of the shredded, baled paper.

Off-site at our plant?

Off-site shredding might be a better option you. When your company has a high volume of information to shred, a mobile shredder may be too time-consuming or too small to complete the job all at once. This is especially true when purging numerous boxes of archived records. Each box must be emptied into a cart, each cart holds about eight boxes, and it takes two minutes to lift, dump, and return the cart to the ground. All told, it takes about five minutes to process a cart. In this case, even if you normally have on-site service, having a staff member follow the truck to witness the shredding at our facility is worth considering.

With on-site shredding, you have to consider what you’re going to do with all of the empty cardboard boxes. There is no “cargo” space on a mobile shred truck — the body of the truck contains the shredder and the shredded paper — so the boxes are usually left behind and may or may not be recycled.

Customers who also have recycling needs benefit from off-site shredding. Everything can be picked up at the same time, reducing the pickup fees and the carbon emissions. Because of the care that can be taken off-site, most of the paper can be “up cycled” to make printing and writing paper and less of it used for single-use items such as tissue and toweling.

Since You Might Be Wondering

No one is reading the documents as they’re being fed into the shredder. And yes, everything gets shredded except for the empty cardboard boxes, which are recycled.

And there are no worries about compliance or liability because the AMS off-site shredding process meets all Federal regulations. Our drivers are background-screened, bonded and insured. Our secure containers are locked and tracked all the way from pickup to their arrival in our gated and 24/7 camera-monitored facility. That’s where the documents will be shredded by our industrial shredder, the shreds baled, and the bales sent to a paper mill for re-manufacturing into new, high-quality paper products.

So what’s right for you?

If you have a small to medium amount of confidential material on a regular basis or for a purge, on-site shredding may be the right choice. If the property manager doesn’t allow the shredding truck to remain at the dock because of time, space limitations, noise or fumes, consider off-site shredding. As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider, so it’s not really “one size fits all.”

To find out what makes sense for your business, give us a call or complete the form on this page.

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