3 Ways to Destroy Documents Without Using Shredding Machines

No paper shredder? Well, that’s not a problem. There are other options for you if your goal is to destroy essential documents that can be used by other individuals or groups against you. But before getting into that, you should first be aware about the reasons why it’s important to properly get rid of files, credit cards, financial statements, and other personal or business documents.

Why should you destroy personal or business files appropriately?

1. This protects you from identity theft.

2. This protects your right to privacy.

3. This safeguards valuable corporate documents or correspondence that can be used by competitors in gaining leverage.

4. This is the law. Document shredding laws include the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act (HIPPA) and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA). In order to protect individuals, clients or even business entities, companies or people tasked to destroy documents must do their jobs correctly. This means that files must be destroyed in a way that makes these impossible to be reread or reassembled by others.

You may be tempted to purchase a paper shredder to protect yourself and your family. If you own a business, it’s recommended that you purchase a reliable shredder. Shredders are convenient devices to have around since these make document disposal quick and fairly simple. Because good shredders are usually quite pricey, especially those which run on batteries or electricity, you can opt for other techniques if you only need to get rid of personal files. Here are other ways to dispose of essential records when you don’t own a paper shredding machine.

Bury or Use as Mulch

Throwing papers that contain financial and personal information in the trash is a huge risk. Opportunists often rummage through other people’s garbage to find details that they can use to steal the identity of others or maybe to acquire sensitive information that will allow them to access banks or credit cards. Avoid disposing papers this way. Instead, tear paper into smaller pieces and bury them. Since paper is an organic matter, this eventually decomposes and blends with the soil. Avid gardeners can choose to mix paper with other natural items used as mulch, such as leaves, peat or straw. Doing this is harder as paper needs to be cut into much smaller pieces.


Soaking is another way to dispose of paper. Cut or rip paper into medium-sized pieces and soak in water to create pulp or to make paper so soggy, rendering it unreadable. Some people also mix certain chemicals to water in order to speed up the decomposition of paper products. Examples of such chemicals are lye, bleach or Borax. However, if you don’t know how to use these chemicals, don’t attempt it. These substances are dangerous and prolonged exposure to gases produced by these sorts of chemicals can threaten health. A safer option is to soak paper in a blend of water and milk. Elements in milk aid in speeding up the deterioration of paper.

Burn or Incinerate

Burning paper is simple. Just get a large can, put in the documents that you want to destroy, put some igniter fluid and set the thing on fire. Some people prefer this because documents destroyed by fire become ash, which is then impossible to put back together. Still, this is not an environment-friendly method. You wouldn’t want to contribute to global warming, right? If so, opt for eco-friendly waste incinerators. Also, make sure that you have a fire extinguisher handy, just in case.

Claire David is a regular article contributor to many popular and well-respected websites including, Document Destruction Chicago, which offers mobile shredding services.

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