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Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Let me be clear from the beginning that I am in favor of the shredding of all personal information documents, not the old method of just tearing the material in half, or even in small pieces, and throwing it in the trash. The latter is what the ID thieves want you to do so they can go dumpster-diving and steal your identity. I also feel the ease in which this is disposed of can encourage more people to do it. I have done several posts on the number of unsolicited credit card offers—some pre-approved, stated blatantly on the envelope—we receive in this household, and how each could be the crooks’ entree to heist my credit. We shred everything that comes into our home that has any connection with the private side of our life. Medical bills, auto maintenance, online transactions, paid bills, old insurance papers are a few of what we add to the credit card offer shredding. If you’re not sure, shred it. And after we’re done shredding, where does all the confetti go? In the recycler you say? Not in Phoenix, Arizona, where shredded paper is not acceptable in recycle bins, according to Terry Gellenbeck, Administrator for the city of Phoenix Solid Waste Contracts and Education department which controls recycling. She says when shredded paper is placed in recycle bins and then goes into the sorting process, it makes it “impossible manually and not economical or easily done mechanically.” I asked Ms. Gellenbeck if it wasn’t more important to help protect the people of Phoenix by providing this convenient method of disposal. She countered with the fact that Phoenix does not discourage residents from shredding, and backed off a little from shredded materials “not acceptable” to “We just ask that they not be placed in recycling bins.” I interpret that as the fact the city isn’t really sure about their position. But it has to go somewhere since 73 percent of Americans now say they shred personal documents, according to non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center. I’d be very interested in your feed-back on whether your city allows the placement of shredded paper in the recycle bins. Los Angeles does, and there are several million more people there than in Phoenix. I wonder what Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon would say about the issue? I’ll ask him if he wins reelection on Tuesday.

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