Thursday, March 25, 1999

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Shred-it employee Bob Egbert shreds documents from
Countrywide Home Loans Tuesday inside a truck parked
on the street outside Amfac Center.

Isle company stays on the road to
make sure there's . . .

No shred of

A grinder inside a truck
turns clients' secrets
into confetti

By Peter Wagner


THE shiny new truck pulled up at Amfac Center on Nimitz Highway and two uniformed men hopped out. They hurried upstairs with some empty bags and a metal cart.

You could see this was serious business, even if they'd only come to pick up the trash.

"We don't see ourselves as a document destruction company," said Edward MacNaughton, who recently opened a Shred-it franchise in Honolulu. "We're a security company, another link in the chain of security for confidential documents."

The company, the first franchise of the Toronto-based Shred-it chain, brings something new to Honolulu -- curbside shredding.

With 62 locations in Canada, the United States and Europe, the company has found a growing market since its founding in 1988.

That was a big year for shredding -- after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that garbage is public property.

Many companies concerned about document disposal currently shred their own documents, or have them hauled away by the boxful for off-site disposal.

Working with bonded employees, Shred-it collects business documents dropped into high-security receptacles provided to clients and carries the material out to a waiting truck for on-the-spot shredding.

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Edward MacNaughton of Shred-it sees a
market for five trucks in Honolulu.

"It gives the customer total confidence their documents have been completely destroyed before they leave their immediate control," said MacNaughton.

"The customer can come out and watch the documents being destroyed, and sometimes they do."

Businesses here, as across the country, have increasingly turned to shredding to dispose of sensitive documents -- outdated reports, medical records, accounts, ledgers, lists and memos.

There was a time when trade secrets went out with the trash, or into a small incinerator. But with credit theft and other security breaches on the rise, companies are trying to protect sensitive information.

"Our documents include bank accounts, phone numbers, addresses, and social security numbers," said Jon Whittington, Hawaii Branch Manager at Countrywide Home Loans. "We don't want that kind of information flowing about."

Countrywide, a Shred-it customer, had been keeping its unwanted files in storage. The new arrangement cuts storage costs and file handling, Whittington said.

"We've been able to reduce our file sizes by 75 percent," he said.

MacNaughton currently has a single, $150,000 truck equipped with a heavy-duty shredder. He sees a market for five trucks in Honolulu.

The shredder, weighing about a ton and mounted inside the truck, will chew up almost anything you toss into it, including three-ring binders or a pair of shoes. A huge bin collects the quarter-sized pieces.

While MacNaughton has done some odd jobs, like shredding an unwanted inventory of ladies handbags, his goal is to grind up and recycle paper.

He delivers the paper to a local recycler who ships it to Asian markets.

Shred-it charges $4 per minute, with a $65 minimum fee, to collect and dispose of business documents.

Its machine can shred 1,200 pounds of paper an hour. The alternative for many companies is an office shredder. But few can handle more than 30 pounds an hour, a costly and labor-intensive task.

"We had our own machine but we found it kind of clumsy and time-consuming," said Paul C.T. Loo, branch manager at Dean Witter Reynolds Inc., a new Shred-it customer. "We kept having to replace them because they konked out."

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