Paper shredding is one of those essential processes that you might rely on every day but not really pay much attention to. However, it actually has an interesting history that dates back more than a century. To us today, paper shredding is a key way to protect data, ensure legal compliance and maintain standards of trust and credibility with clients. However, the first every paper shredders actually had some fairly revolutionary origins.
Where did the paper shredder come from?
The first-ever patent for a paper shredder was filed in 1909 in America and was based on a hand-operated pasta-making machine. Although the design never actually made it off the page it inspired the industry that followed and developed into the advanced technology that we rely on today. History tells us that the first paper shredder to be made was produced by Adolf Ehinger in Germany in the 1930s – he used it to destroy the anti-Nazi propaganda he was creating to help avoid being caught by the authorities.
Advances in technology
The first paper shredders operated on a very similar basis to a pasta machine. A single sheet of paper would pass through the shredder and blades would cut it into strips. Initially, it was felt that this would be sufficient to ensure that the documents could not be reassembled and accessed after the shredding process had taken place. However, over the years criminals have become more sophisticated when it comes to accessing data and information and so methods of destruction have been forced to evolve too. Today, the more advanced version of shredding technology not only shreds documents into strips but also destroys each of the strips with an automated mechanism. This means that it’s virtually impossible to get access to the contents of the documents once the shredding process has taken place.
An industry that has evolved
As the demands on paper shredding have become more onerous the industry has begun to evolve in response. For example, regulation such as the GDPR has meant that businesses need to be able to rely on document destruction and to be able to show a clear chain of custody for paperwork that might contain sensitive or personal data. As a result, shredding on-site now ensures that documents are destroyed before they leave the premises. Before each scheduled destruction takes place these documents are kept in lockable containers to provide peace of mind where security is concerned. Shredding has also enabled businesses to improve commitments to environmental standards. It’s much easier to recycle paper that has been shredded and many shredding partners will ensure that shredded waste goes straight to a recycling centre and doesn’t end up contributing to the increasing landfill issue.
From the early days of the pasta machine prototype to a fully secure and reliable document destruction service that is crucial to compliance, shredding has come a long way. The industry will continue to evolve to keep pace with technological evolution and to meet the needs of clients as and when they change.