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Managing confidential waste is more important than ever thanks to GDPR

21 June 2018

The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 2018 is here and it’s time for every business to review its confidential waste management process.

Confidential waste is anything that reveals sensitive or personal information about customers, suppliers or employees or information which may be sensitive to your business such as financial records.

This information is typically stored on computers and other devices or in paper filing systems. It is imperative that any confidential waste is effectively destroyed to prevent it falling into the hands of fraudsters or hackers.

The advent of the GDPR 2018, which now governs the collection, processing, storage and disposal of confidential waste, has seen the financial penalties for a data breach rise significantly and any company that fails to meet its responsibilities can be subject to large fines.

Some recent high profile cases have seen customers of both Carphone Warehouse and TSB exposed to serious breach of data.

So it is easy to see why now is the time for companies to review and update any confidential waste disposal policies.

Choosing the right waste management company can really take the stress out of dealing with confidential waste disposal and ensure you are meeting all your corporate responsibilities.


Find a waste disposal company that will provide a comprehensive audit covering all aspects of a customer’s Duty of Care including waste management practices, suppliers and disposal routes.

Audits are very useful not only in ensuring compliance but by identifying areas for cost reduction and improved performance.

It can be tricky to stay abreast of the latest legislation. A good waste management company will advise you on all aspects of compliance and help you implement best practices that keep you compliant as well as demonstrate your corporate responsibility.

Find a company that relishes the challenge of finding environmentally responsible solutions for all your waste – even difficult and obscure wastes.

Equipment provision

A waste management company will be able to provide you with a range of safe, convenient and cost effective internal and external containers as well as waste handling equipment such as compactors and balers and approved confidential waste containers so that confidential paper waste can be stored securely.

Electronic data disposal

The amount of client data stored on computers, servers, photocopiers and mobile devices is ever-increasing and disposing of it is more complex than paper documents.

The end result must be that the data can never be retrieved. Electronic data disposal is a confusing issue for many office managers.

You won’t be alone if you’re worrying about what exactly is on the hard drives, how to effectively delete a file, if deleting it is enough or should it be permanently removed and how, when a device is no longer in use and can it be correctly disposed of.

It’s a concerning statistic that over 90 per cent of information is retrievable after reformatting a hard drive. But the data contained is the responsibility of the business who ‘owns’ it, until it is destroyed.

Employing a waste management company to securely collect any unwanted equipment from your business and destroy according to the relevant standards is vital.

You will receive paperwork to certify the data has been destroyed, providing you with a clear audit trail from the beginning of the process to the end.

Top tips for managing confidential waste

• Ensure all employees know the processes and importance of data security – support with generating awareness through, Intranet, Wall Notices, Internal Meetings and Staff email reminders.

• Provide the correct containers for confidential waste and make sure staff use them. Do not place anything in open bins. Containers should be locked and secure and these should be locked and documents should be impossible to retrieve once inserted.

• Contact a waste specialist to help you dispose of all confidential waste.

• Make sure you always receive a Certificate of Destruction from the waste disposal company.

• Companies such as WCRS Ltd can provide access to safe and secure data destruction, including on-site and off-site shredding with the shredded materials being recycled and sent to paper mills and other manufacturing operations.

• Look out for waste companies that provide a single contract for all your recycling and waste management requirements, giving you one point of contact, one monthly invoice and one comprehensive report, making your life easier.

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