Information security is an area of tremendous concern for many businesses. In 2020, United States businesses saw 1,001 data breaches expose 155.8 million records, putting both company operations and sensitive client information at risk.
Additionally, companies need to protect their trade secrets. U.S. companies lose an estimated $200 billion to $250 billion annually to intellectual property theft, so businesses need proven methods to keep their proprietary information secure.
One helpful step companies can take to reduce their risk in these areas is engaging confidential waste destruction services. These services help keep private data secure while ensuring responsible, eco-conscious and sustainable waste management.
What Is Confidential Waste Destruction?
Confidential waste destruction involves disposing of waste securely to keep the nature of the waste materials private.
Some companies assume confidential waste destruction merely means confidential document disposal — that is, getting rid of sensitive or confidential documents like records and technical materials. This waste destruction does often handle these materials. For instance, your company might have written specifications it does not want to fall into its competitors’ hands. Confidential waste disposal services can shred those documents securely so your proprietary information remains private. They can also recycle the shredded paperwork to provide environmental benefits while preserving your trade secrets.
But confidential waste disposal is also highly suitable for a broader range of products your company no longer has any use for. If your company has stores of expired, substandard or recalled products, confidential waste destruction services can get them out of your way to keep your business practices efficient and productive. These items might be discarded chemicals, malfunctioning electronics or other material parts your company cannot offer consumers.
Confidential waste destruction has two primary goals. One is to remove waste securely, and the other is to minimize the amount of waste that goes to landfills by salvaging recyclable materials. Your business might be able to remove and reuse the metals from its defective electronics, for instance. Or you may be able to melt and extrude plastic components into plastic pellets for reuse in new products.
These objectives combine to give you comprehensive services that minimize your risk and liability while enabling you to maintain safe, eco-conscious waste management practices.
When to Consider Confidential Waste Destruction
Your business has many options for waste disposal, and you’ll want to choose the one that maximizes value to your company. But how will you know whether you need confidential waste destruction services for your facility?
You should consider confidential waste destruction when you’re dealing with any of the following scenarios:
- Need for expert capabilities: Businesses don’t always have the time or equipment for secure in-house bulk destruction. They also don’t often have the vehicles or infrastructure to transport the destroyed materials off-site to their final disposal location. Dedicated confidential waste destruction services handle the process seamlessly so companies can focus their attention on their core processes. Confidential waste destruction companies can often provide official certificates of destruction, as well.
- Damaged products: In some cases, fragile items like textiles or ceramics become damaged in transport or storage. Other times, environmentally sensitive products may become contaminated and unfit for use. Confidential waste destruction services enable your company to dispose of these products securely and responsibly.
- Defective products: Your company may have items that, though undamaged, fail to work properly. You may have broken electronic devices, products with misprinted labels or other goods your company cannot sell to consumers. Confidential waste disposal helps you remove these items from your facility while keeping your proprietary information secure.
- Off-spec products: Your company may sometimes have products that, while not defective, turn out not to conform to required specifications. These might be building materials of the wrong shape or size or chemical products that deviate from your specs in their composition. Off-spec product destruction services allow you to dispose of these goods easily without harming the environment.
- Expired products: If your company produces perishable goods like food products and cosmetics, you need a reliable way to clear the expired inventory from your shelves. Confidential waste destruction services allow you to move your older inventory responsibly to make room for newer, safer products.
- Recalls: At some point, your company might have to recall one of its products. You will then have to handle the defective or unsafe items customers return to you. Having confidential waste destruction services in place means you’ll have expert assistance in disposing of the recalled items safely and ethically.
- Production overruns: In some cases, you may have new, high-quality goods your production department has been churning out too quickly. These products may begin to pile up in your warehouses because your sales cannot keep pace with production. You’ll want to make sure the excess items don’t go to waste, so you may need confidential waste destruction services to salvage, recycle and reuse everything possible.
- Discontinued or outdated materials: As time passes, your company may end up with a stockpile of items that, while still perfectly functional, no longer meet your business needs. You might have outdated uniforms, logos or promotional materials, or you might have technical materials for products you no longer manufacture. Confidential waste destruction services help you dispose of these items responsibly while keeping any still-relevant trade information secure.
Which Industries Utilize Confidential Waste Services?
Some industries require more confidential waste disposal services than others. The need for service might stem from an industry’s significant reliance on classified specs and materials, or it might come from a sector’s high production capabilities. Here are some industries that frequently use confidential waste services, as well as some of the materials they typically destroy:
1. Electronics Manufacturers
Electronics manufacturers sometimes produce defective devices they must then dispose of. They might manufacture a batch of devices with flaws that render them unusable, or they might misread the market demand for their products and end up with warehouses full of items they cannot sell.
Whatever the reasons, electronics manufacturers should not merely throw their defective or excess items out with the garbage. The metals in many electronic devices can be harmful to the environment. Additionally, electronics often contain salvageable materials and components that can go on for reuse in new products. Contracting confidential material destruction as part of your manufacturing waste management services can help your company salvage what it can and dispose of its electronic products responsibly.
2. Medical Facilities
Hospitals and other medical facilities maintain extensive stores of patient information and records. Nowadays, many facilities keep medical records electronically, though some clinics may still keep paper records or have a backlog of older documents that requires management.
Confidential waste destruction services are vital in these situations. They help healthcare facilities protect sensitive medical data and give patients peace of mind about the security and privacy of their health details.
3. Financial Institutions
Financial institutions store private financial records that could compromise client privacy if they made their way into the public eye. Like health care facilities, many financial institutions store some of this data digitally. But they’re also likely to have some physical paper records that require confidential shredding, or they may have old server tapes that need secure destruction.
Confidential waste disposal services help financial institutions gain peace of mind, both for themselves and for the clients that depend on them to keep their sensitive financial information private. It also removes the burden of this complex undertaking so companies can concentrate on making sound financial decisions for their clients.
4. Pharmaceutical Companies
Pharmaceutical companies must regularly dispose of expired medications. They cannot dispose of these products directly into the trash because of the risks of adverse health effects and environmental impacts. At the same time, pharmaceutical manufacturers don’t want their products to fall into outsiders’ hands. If competitors obtained samples of discarded goods, they might reverse engineer the specifications and create similar medicines themselves, cutting into the original company’s profits and marring its reputation for innovation.
Confidential waste disposal services for pharmaceutical companies offer an appealing solution for product destruction and disposal. These services handle defective or expired products safely and responsibly to protect public health, the environment and the company’s reputation and trade secrets.
5. Chemical Manufacturers
Chemical manufacturers often turn to confidential waste destruction services when they need to dispose of substandard product batches or excess product stores safely.
Releasing these products directly into the environment — by dumping them in municipal landfills, for instance — could have ecological and health consequences in the surrounding community. Toxins from the chemicals could pollute the groundwater, making water dangerous to drink and the soil unsafe for growing crops. They could also harm local ecosystems, causing habitat destruction and biodiversity loss. Manufacturers also don’t want competitors to access these products and learn the specifics of proprietary formulations.
Confidential waste management services address both issues effectively. They enable chemical companies to dispose of defective or overrun products quickly, safely and responsibly. They also allow companies to focus less on waste disposal and more on developing, creating and selling their products.
Because of the environmentally sensitive nature of many of their products, chemical manufacturers may wish to look into chemical waste services that dispose of their chemical products safely and in compliance with the law.
Advantages of Confidential Waste Management
Confidential waste disposal is highly advantageous for companies across various industries because of the reliable solutions and peace of mind it offers. Below are some of the concrete benefits of using confidential waste management services:
- Protecting proprietary information: Your company’s business records likely include confidential information like customer and employee data or schematics for prototypes. Confidential waste destruction services enable you to maintain information security, protect employee and client privacy and keep your prized business developments out of the wrong hands.
- Forestalling liability: Disposing of products safely when you need to helps you protect consumers and reduce your legal liability. You don’t want your company to become vulnerable to legal action by selling consumers defective goods. You also don’t want the worry of knowing your products may have injured the people who used them. Confidential waste management services help you protect yourself and your customers.
- Protecting your brand: Confidential waste disposal services help your company preserve its brand reputation. Consumers want to know they’re working with a responsible, ethical, environmentally conscious company with their best interests in mind. They like to know they can count on your business to protect them from unsafe products, using disposal methods that will be easy on the environment and protect human health. Confidential waste management services allow your company to give consumers those assurances.
- Promoting sustainability: When you use reliable, confidential waste destruction services, you’ll boost your business’s sustainability practices in a few different ways. Because quality confidential waste management services prioritize recycling what you can, you’ll send smaller volumes of waste to the landfill. By converting some of your waste into reusable forms, you’ll also lower the demand for new materials. That benefit helps reduce the carbon emissions and pollution associated with the manufacture of new products.
- Ensuring compliance: Quality confidential waste management enables you to comply with relevant federal and local authorities. The regulations for your facility will likely depend on the type of waste your business produces. If your facility generates hazardous waste, for instance, the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) will govern its disposal to ensure safety and minimize environmental impacts. Local laws may apply, as well. A robust confidential waste management program helps you keep up with requirements, maintain compliance and avoid costly penalties.
- Creating more space: Using confidential waste management services helps your facility create more space for new products. If you’ve been storing years’ worth of documents or faulty items, your storage areas may be too full to admit anything new. Clearing out those old products and papers gives you more free space and makes your facility more organized.
- Ensuring peace of mind: Many of the benefits of confidential waste disposal are practical, tangible ones, but these services also provide invaluable peace of mind. The transparent, traceable waste reduction they offer means your company knows its valuable proprietary information will remain secure. You can also pass that peace of mind along to your clients by assuring them about the steps you’ve taken to keep their sensitive personal information private.
Contact ERC for Confidential Waste Destruction in the Mid-Atlantic
When your business needs to dispose of confidential products or sensitive information, turn to Environmental Recovery Corporation for ethical, sustainable answers. We can provide your business with a range of secure waste destruction solutions, from confidential document disposal to certified product destruction. Our confidential waste destruction services give you the freedom to focus on business while keeping you compliant with the law, ensuring peace of mind about product and data security and helping you do your part for the environment.
Contact us today to schedule confidential waste destruction services or learn more about how we can help you.