Consumers concerned about both the environment and personal security should compost their shredded bank statements, a firm that manufactures shredders advises.
In the UK, local councils frequently refuse to collect and recycle shredded waste. So consumers might feel torn between protecting the environment or their own personal identity, according to Fellowes, which makes desktop accessories and storage products as well as shredders.
Fellowes reckons the environmentally-conscious are opting to protect the environment over their identities by placing undestroyed personal information, like bank statements and credit card and utility bills, in recycling containers. We think it more likely that the environmentally-conscious are not thinking of the risk from dumpster-diving this behaviour poses, although an online poll by Fellowes suggests many are going out of their way to pick the green option.
A random sample of 1,864 Brits quizzed online found that 45 per cent of those polled are putting personal information into recycling containers without shredding it first, despite recent reports from credit reference agency Experian that identity fraud is growing by 70 per cent a year. Fellowes argues consumers don't have to choose between protecting their identity and being green.
The firm is calling on councils to collect shredded waste. Pending this, Fellowes advises punters to take their bank bills down to the allotment.
"Shredded waste is not being recycled in some areas – and it means that many households are not following police and government advice to shred personal information before throwing it away," said Tyron Hill, marketing director of Fellowes. "Identity fraud is on the increase and individuals must be allowed to take steps to protect themselves. People must shred their personal and financial details – and local councils should be proactively encouraging this.
"If your council does not recycle shredded waste, it is still possible to shred and be green. Composting is simple, cost effective, and helps the environment, for example – and many local schools will be glad to receive your shredded waste for papier-mache projects. It also makes ideal wadding for packages and parcels." ®