What are the pros and cons of in-house shredding vs paper shredding services?

Paperwork – can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

It’s one of the modern age’s necessary inconveniences. And while there is a slow moving shift towards a more digitised, even paperless office, the fact is that businesses and organisations will be dealing with paperwork on a daily basis for years to come.

That means that the vast majority of modern companies are not only accumulating a significant amount of paperwork in their daily dealings, they also have to decide on the best way to securely destroy this confidential waste.

For most offices, this normally comes down to a decision between handling shredding on-site DIY-style or hiring a professional shredding service to take care of everything.   

In this post, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a shredding service, particularly when compared to disposing of confidential waste in-house.

As an organisation that needs to stay on top of both its expenditure and data security, it’s important to weigh up all pros and cons in order to decide on the best course of action for your business needs.

In-house Shredding


  •     Complete control of documents – if you choose to handle all confidential waste in-house, you won’t need to get any external services involved. This is great if you have the spare time and suitably trained staff, but not every organisation has that luxury.
  •     Minimal cost – professional shredding services aren’t free so bypassing them by processing confidential waste internally avoids that extra cost. This is often the case with smaller companies who only generate small amounts of paper waste.
  •     Shredding on demand – any confidential documents can be shredded immediately on-site. This timeliness can help reduce the risk of sensitive information getting lost or stolen.


  •     Inefficient resource allocation – few organisations produce so little paper waste that they can proficiently handle shredding in-house. Most businesses deal with high volumes of paperwork that require significant time, personnel and financial commitments to properly process their confidential destruction.  
  •     Quality and cost of an office shredder – while a simple office shredder might not set you back that much, the chances are it may not be able to handle the quantities of paperwork required by the average office. Low-cost “strip-cut” shredders are also the least secure shredders, with many cases of highly confidential documents having been reconstructed from their disposed strips. More robust, industrial-style office shredders can be very expensive with high maintenance costs that many businesses can’t sustain.
  •     Increased risk of data breaches – while in-house shredding gives the organisation full control of their confidential waste disposal, many staff members will not have the appropriate training to handle and process sensitive documents in full compliance with GDPR regulations. Also, if paperwork isn’t shredded immediately after use, the improper storage of sensitive material on-site can also raise data security concerns.

Paper Shredding Services


  •     Increased productivity – with the time and effort of shredding paperwork being shouldered by an external shredding service, staff can focus on the work that really matters. Of course, the cost and time effectiveness of shredding all depends on the size of the organisation. If, like most businesses, you deal with high levels of paperwork on a daily basis, the chances are a professional shredding service is the most effective option for you.
  •     Ensured GDPR compliance – not only are the professional grade shredders of shredding services more efficient than office shredders, but their staff are also fully trained in the handling, processing and destruction of confidential waste. Since the introduction of strict new GDPR regulations in 2018, failing to secure the safe storage and destruction of your confidential material can result in significant penalties.
  •     Environmentally friendly – many companies that specialise in shredding confidential paperwork recycle almost all of their waste. With shredding services, you can save the planet while saving your business time and money too! (With Flexible Storage’s shredding partner, 0% of shredded paper waste is sent to landfill. This means that approximately 17 trees are saved for every tonne of paper waste recycled).


  •     Economies of scale – if you are a small organisation or you generate low quantities of paper waste on a daily basis, using a professional shredding service may not be cost-effective. You will therefore have to undertake a cost comparison of hiring a shredding service versus the time, money and energy it costs your business to handle confidential waste internally. For many smaller businesses, a confidential waste disposal bin may be the more cost-effective option.
  •     Storage and transport risks – while the staff of professional shredding services are highly trained in confidential waste handling and data protection protocol, there’s no way to reduce the risk of a data breach completely. Human error in this area is unavoidable but much less likely with qualified specialists than untrained office staff.
  •     A poor shredding service – a professional shredding service is only as good as the company that is carrying it out. While GDPR and other UK data protection laws are crystal clear on the appropriate way to manage confidential waste, not all shredding services live up to these standards. That’s why it is so important that – should you decide that your organisation could benefit from a shredding service – you do your due diligence to find the best shredding service for your business needs.

At Flexible Storage, we offer professional and flexible shredding services via our partner shredding and recycling company. Fully licensed with the Environment Agency and GDPR compliant, we can provide the most secure and convenient shredding service that can be tailored to your company’s specific needs.

Get in touch with our team today for more information about our shredding services and even receive a quote.