Can I Burn My Sensitive Documents Instead?

Are you thinking about tossing those old tax returns, bank statements, or medical bills into the fire? The huge stacks of paperwork that you can’t just throw in the bin can be an irritating sight. In fact, the urge to see them disappear in a blaze might be strong. Burning sensitive documents isn’t the safest or most secure way to dispose of them.

Before you choose “burning” as your document disposal method, consider these four risks so you can make an informed decision.

The Risks of Burning Documents

Burning everything to ashes might seem like a surefire way to destroy documents, but it’s actually a risky proposition because of these reasons:

Time Wasted To Burn Documents

Before you can even burn them, you’ll have to gather each document, rip it up, and set up a safe area for burning. Then, you’ll have to monitor the flames to make sure nothing goes awry.

Finally, when you’re done burning sensitive documents, ashes, and unburned fragments will be scattered throughout, adding another tedious step to the process.

So yes, burning your documents might seem easy and quick, but it’s not. It is extremely time-consuming and messy. Shredding, on the other hand, is the ideal secure bulk paper disposal method.

Negative Environmental Impacts

Even a small campfire can release a surprising amount of smoke, so imagine the smoke that burning your documents will produce.

Air Pollution and Greenhouse gas emissions

The earth is already heating up. Burning paper can release pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contribute to smog and respiratory problems.

On top of that, the burning process also releases carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

All in all, it’s bad for the environment, and not wearing the right equipment can be quite dangerous for your lungs. Inhaling these fumes can be dangerous, especially for people with respiratory issues.

Fire Hazards

A fire, whether small or not, can quickly escalate into a major catastrophe, especially if we’re talking about paper. Paper burns quickly and unevenly, with flames easily reaching nearby objects. Even a carefully controlled fire can get out of hand due to drafts or unexpected wind gusts.

Once you’ve dealt with the messy fires, you’ll have embers on your hands. If they’re not extinguished, they can travel long distances and spark a fire elsewhere. There have been cases where a small fire sparked a giant wildfire nearby.

Open Burning Legality Risks

You might think no one can stop you from burning a few papers in your backyard, but it might end up in an unwanted legal battle. Many cities strictly prohibit open burning, including your sensitive documents. If you violate these ordinances, you could get fined,

It’s true that some areas do allow open burning but only with a permit, and that, too, comes with restrictions such as weather limitations, designated burn times, and even specific materials for burning.

Security Risks Of Burning Documents

Burning paper isn’t as easy as you might expect. Actually, burning documents can be uneven, leaving behind partially legible pieces of paper with your sensitive information still visible.

These fragments might not seem like a big deal until they fall victim to scavenging or simply blow away in the wind, exposing your privacy. Even a small piece of your personal document in the wrong hands can lead to unfortunate events.

Here at Pulp, we are committed to the destruction of sensitive data. We hold both the prestigious NAID AAA Certification and EN 15713 Certification, signifying our unwavering dedication to a complete shredding process from start to shred.

Solution: Is Shredding Better Than Burning?

The short answer is a resounding yes! Shredding offers a safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly way to dispose of sensitive documents. Most of all, you won’t have to DIY a makeshift burning place or clean up any embers and ashes.

Confidential shredding will turn all your documents into unreadable particles in a quick and easy way. Later, this paper can even be recycled while your peace of mind stays intact.

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