Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

The Real Cost of Personal Shredders


Consider one of the most common statements heard in records management: “we don’t need your services because we have an office shredder that takes care of our needs.”

At first glance, it might seem like a logical conclusion for smaller organizations. Why pay a commercial firm to complete your destruction when employees can easily handle the lower volume with a retail shredder? But this simple justification hides a far more expensive truth.

Turns out, an office shredder costs a lot more than you think. To illustrate, let’s take a look at an example of a typical small business office. As soon as information destruction laws went into effect they purchased a modestly priced personal shredder for $185. The chart below shows how much it cost this small business to operate that device:

Office Shredder Cost Analysis
[column width=”two-thirds”]
Number of employees
* Shred time (minutes) per day for each employee
Total Daily Shred Time (Minutes)

Average hourly wage (including benefits)
Total daily shred time (Hours)
Number of work days per month
Number of hours per month employees shred
Total Monthly Labor Cost To Shred

Purchase price of personal shredder
Life expectancy of shredder (Number of months)
Monthly depreciation cost
Monthly maintenance cost
Total Monthly Equipment Cost

Total labor cost
Total equipment cost
Total Monthly Cost of Office Shredder
[column width=”one-third”]



* Includes time to walk from and back to work station, pick up paper, remove staples and paper clips, straighten pages, feed shredder, clean up and dispose shredded paper

Interestingly enough, their investment will really cost them somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,171 annually, far more than what regularly serviced shredding containers would cost. While there are variables like hourly wages, initial cost, and such; it doesn’t erase the fact that a lower perceived expense does not equal less cost over the lifetime of use. Probably not what they had in mind to justify the purchase!

The Data Vault can help find secure shredding solutions for organizations of all sizes. Whether you require hard drive and media destruction or just the disposal of sensitive paper documents, our team of experts can be relied upon to deliver timely service in a security oriented environment. As a member of NAID and part of numerous records management oriented organizations, our facility and procedures have been certified and designed to meet the highest standards. If there’s any questions you have, please do not hesitate to contact us and someone will be in touch!

Credit to Shred Works for the initial calculations and research – check out their original post here.


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