Shredding Standards and Accreditation Explained


If you’re considering using a shredding company, it’s a good idea to get clued up on what’s expected to make sure you get a quality, efficient, lawful service.

Shredding standards and accreditation are put in place to reassure us that we’re dealing with a service provider that takes its shredding obligations seriously. So, here’s what’s meant by accreditation and standards.

The basics of shredding standards

The aim of shredding confidential documents is to make that they can’t be retrieved and that the details are gone for good.

The two major aspects that can stop a document being put back together are:

  • How small the paper has been shredded.
  • The volume of all documents shredded at the same time.

Current shredding standards work to guarantee that these two aspects take place to ensure shredded documents are not recovered.

Different standards

There are a few standards when it comes to shredding you should know about:

DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung or German Institute for Standardisation).

DIN 66399 Level 3 is ‘standard’ document shredding and refers only to the technical ability of shredding equipment, not the commercial bulk shredding of confidential material or handling of confidential documents before disposal.

CPNI Standard (Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure)

The CPNI details three document classifications and how they should be shredded: official, secret and top secret. For example, the CPNI demands that secret or top-secret paper documents must be shredded to a particle size of 60mm2. Also, as this information is very sensitive, there are strict measures for how they should be handled, stored and transported.

BS EN15713:2009

This standard relates to the delivery of an outsourced shredding service, concentrating on safety and sustainability. Standards are set for things like: staff inspection, security of shredding locations and vehicles, and more.

Awarding bodies

Firstly, who is in charge of setting out the standards we have to adhere to? Here are a few:

The International Standards Organisation (ISO) found in Geneva, Switzerland, endorses global business standards and awards certification in many areas. ISO 9001 is the international standard pertaining to quality management processes.

What’s more, the ISO examines several quality-management areas including: leadership, processes and improvements, customer focus, people engagement, decision making, and organizing relationships.

In the UK, the British Standards Institution creates technical standards on many services and products, as well as supervises the authorization for BS-7858 (gold standard for background screening). This concerns environments, and more specifically, the safety of people, property and goods within an organisation.

Certification processes guarantee that employees are inspected and checked scrupulously, which entails looking at the person’s address, gaps in employment, criminal records, ID, right to work, personal references, credit scores, and bankruptcies.

Then, there’s the Information Commissioner’s Office, which ensures that a shredding service provider is listed with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO keeps an eye on UK data protection and companies must register this organisation, as well as assign a data controller, to conform to General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). GDPR essentially demands that all systems must be proven to be in place to protect data around the clock.

The ICO must be told about all data breaches and the organisation might inspect and fine companies that are non-compliant with GDPR.

Lastly, there’s the Environment Agency (EA). The EA is a branch of government that has a list of waste carriers, dealers and brokers. Legally, if someone moves or processes waste like confidential paper documents, hard drives or media, they must be on this register (which is public) and have a waster carrier’s licence.

It’s critical to make sure that you only use a shredding provider that is accredited by the above bodies. If you don’t, you could receive a hefty fine. Check out more about onsite shredding here: