A paper shredder is a device that is used to cut sheets of paper into bits. Nowadays, they are available in different shapes and sizes, from small and inexpensive units that have a capacity of a few pages, to large expensive ones used by commercial shredding services, that are capable of cutting thousands of documents in an hour.
Mobile versions also exist, which are built into trucks, and used by companies that provide these type of services. Though, most environmentalists argue that these trucks use a lot of fuel, and thus, emit more carbon, which contributes to air pollution.
Desk Side Shredders
At the entry-level are the desk side shredders, which are appropriate for small businesses or home use. They are small and compact, suitable for offices with restricted space, and not meant for heavy use.
These lightweight devices can be easily moved around. Depending on the model, their capacity ranges from shredding between 3 - 8 pieces of paper at a time.
They are larger than the desk shredder, and suitable for use in most offices or mid-scale businesses. They come in a medium-size, and are usually able to shred up to 30 sheets of paper at a time.
It slices sheets of paper into long strips of a decided width, usually about ⅛ or ¼ of an inch. The most popular is the ¼ inch model, as it comes at an attractive price. It also goes through more sheets at a time as compared to cross-cut shredders, because it does a limited amount of cutting.
The only negative aspect of this is that it generates plenty of fluffy and springy strips of paper that can create quite a mess. These strips, however, can be used as a great packing material.
The technique used is a crisscross motion, thus, achieving a dual cutting action that consequently takes longer than the strip-cut model.
However, this aspect has not affected its popularity, as they offer increased security that comes from a much smaller shred. The pieces collect in the waste bag and have a flat, self-compressing nature that amounts to an increased capacity and reduced trash. However, they are more expensive than the strip-cut variety.
This device chops up the sheets of paper into fine particles that resemble dust, thus, offering the highest level of security. Among the different levels of document security now available, one is capable of reducing an 8½ x 11 inch sheet of paper into 6,093 unrecognizable pieces.
Another, ideal for the destruction of top-secret government and military documents, reduces a single sheet of paper into a minimum of 12,064 separate particles.
These truly heavy-duty machines can shred up to 60 sheets at a time. They are well-suited for large offices, banks, and government agencies. They can rapidly shred large volumes with ease, and thus, save a lot of time.
These machines have an enormous capacity and can shred up to 450 sheets of paper at a time. They are made for high volume shredding and can withstand continuous daily use. Very large companies or those that handle outsourced work, form the customer base for this device. They are expensive and compactly built.
These devices are used to further turn pieces of boxes and other kinds of hard paper into packaging material. They are used by cargo businesses, warehouses, and packaging companies, to create large volumes of filler material that is required while transporting fragile goods.
While, most people presume that shredders are needed only for official use, they often overlook the need to properly destroy their own bills, tax documents, credit card and bank account statements, which is critical to prevent identity theft.