A paper shredder is a “print finisher” machine that assists in the destruction of paper goods and paper products. Once a document has been shredded into thin strips or particles it is usually referred to as “chad.” Paper Shredders are used by nearly every organization or entity today for security and document destruction benefits. As paper shredders destroy paper, they are ideal for adding an extra layer of protection to professional establishments without the environmental impact of burning chemically produced papers.
Destroying confidential, private or other sensitive materials through the use a paper shredder is advised by most security and privacy experts as a means of risk reduction for private companies, public governments and private citizens. Properly shredding your important materials is a first line of defense from fraud and identity theft.
While most commercial paper shredders on the market today offer basic security features, there are several different types of paper shredders that vary in size and shredding capabilities for extended privacy and security benefits. The standard levels of paper shredders as set by the DIN 32757-1 standards include:
Level 1 = 12 mm strips OR 11 x 40mm particles (General)
Level 2 = 6 mm strips OR 8 x 40mm particles (General)
Level 3 = 2 mm strips OR 4 x 30mm particles (Confidential)
Level 4 = 2 x 15 mm particles (Commercially Sensitive)
Level 5 = 0.8 x 12 mm particles (Top Secret or Classified)
Level 6 = 0.8 x 4 mm particles (Top Secret or Classified)
The levels of security are assumed to be measured by the amount of entropy a paper shredder can produce. As there are different levels of security that a paper shredder can qualify for, there are many different types of paper shredders and applications of use that a paper shredder can offer.
Strip-cut paper shredders use rotating knives (blades) to cut paper down into strips. These types of shredders are for simple use applications such as waste reduction or recycling purposes (known as animal bedding). Paper shredders that only provide a strip-cut function offer the least amount of security and privacy protection.
Cross-cut paper shredders use rotating knives like the strip-cut paper shredders; however, they often use multiple blades to create a more profound randomness of shredding.
Particle-cut paper shredders shred paper into small pieces (usually in circles or squares) and offer a higher level of security than standard strip or cross-cut shredders.
Pierce and tear paper shredders literally rip paper or documents through a puncture and tear method of shredding. These types of paper shredders use a rotating band of special blades to accomplish proper paper shredding tasks.
Disintegrators are paper shredders that continually cut paper in a random fashion until the document is destroyed enough to pass through a mesh or screen. These types of paper shredders often offer some of the highest levels of security in document destruction.
For extend protection of shredded documents a papermasher bag is often used to provide a secondary level of security with a paper shredder. A papermasher bag is a bag that is designed to be washed with shredded documents inside. Once a papermasher bag has gone through a rinse cycle (typically in a washing machine) the shredded documents become an illegible heap of paper pulp.