"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing.  If you can fake that, you've got it made."    
- Groucho Marx


Misleading Claims

Don't you get tired of company misrepresentations. It seems that no matter the industry, you'll be told anything just so someone can sell a service or product. Once they have your money, you're at their mercy.  The shredding industry is no different. We can't stress enough to verify what you're told. Seeing is believing.  If you discover a false claim, point it out. If you believe you were hurt or could be hurt by these false claims, you should take legal action.  

All shredding services state that they ensure complete and confidential destruction. No one is going to tell you that their service is substandard and hope that you still use them.

Below is a prime example. This company has a small shredder and offers off-site shredding, so why are they sending material out to be shredded? Do their customers know this? They advertise that clients should be confident that sensitive items will not fall into the wrong hands. An employee of this company confirmed what the photos show (that material is sent 3-4 hours away for shredding). They say a "Certificate of Destruction" will be your guarantee that the work has been performed confidentially and securely. Do you get a certificate from this company or the company that actually did the destruction? HOW CAN THEY CERTIFY SOMETHING THEY DON'T SEE DESTROYED?    

Notice the gaylord boxes heaping with unshredded paper being unloaded from the blue trailer into the white box truck.

Records Centre personnel loading boxes and dumping shredding console bags into the back of a trailer outside their building. The trailer is taken away after a few weeks and then returns a couple days later (September 2010).

Click here to view complete video of the above.

You can not transfer your liability, so you must be sure you know who's doing your shredding, the size of the finished product and where it ends up.

"Consequences of an off-site shredding  truck accident.  Off-site shredding is the least secure process a shredding company can offer."


This is the reason you have to look in the back of the truck. These trucks miss a lot of paper, especially checks. Don't fall for distance photos or video of your paper going into the shredder. Tell them you want to see the finished product. Get up close and personal.

Companies that use this type of shred will often tell customers they cross-cut the material. Anyone who looks at this finished product knows this isn't cross-cut.

Companies who use this type of shred can get a "AAA" certification from a trade association. It's important to know that this trade association isn't a security association. Their goal is to promote member businesses. If security guidelines are too strict, very few members would get this certification.

Knisely Shredding challenges any competitor to a side-by-side comparison.

Another distance photo taken of a pierce-and-tear finished product. You can see how large this is without enlarging.

The above is proof that some shredding company owners and shred truck manufacturers know their trucks don't shred material small enough. The photo on the left is of a hammermill shredder. Notice the eye level viewing window. The photo on the right is the same truck, but with their pierce-and-tear machine. Notice that the eye level viewing window is gone. They don't want you to see this shred type.  IF YOU CAN'T SEE THE FINISHED PRODUCT, YOU DON'T WANT THEM SHREDDING FOR YOU.

Another example of a large shred size. This photo was taken of someone standing in front of a bale of shredded paper. Notice how large the pieces are. You can use his ear for comparison. WOULD YOUR CUSTOMERS OR PATIENTS BE HAPPY IF THEY KNEW THEIR SENSITIVE DOCUMENTS WERE ONLY DESTROYED TO THIS SIZE BEFORE BEING SHIPPED OUT OF THE COUNTRY?

Many companies who shred paper to this size have the recycling company sign an agreement that they won't release the paper back into the public stream. Why would that be necessary if the paper was shredded to an unreadable size? They do this because they don't want the large pieces being traced back to them for liability purposes.  Once the pieces leave the country, they don't care what happens because it would be difficult to trace back. ID thieves love seeing this material.


(IPSA) Information Protection Solutions of America - This group claims on their website what I believe to be a grossly misleading claim. Their website on 4/27/07 under the "FTC Disposal Rule" states: "To adhere to all guidelines of the FTC Disposal Rule related to shredding documents, you must use a NAID certified shredding provider or implement the same equipment and procedures internally.

A representative of the FTC informed me that this statement was "absolutely not true". I don't believe this misleading statement will stand too long.

Again, you must believe what you know is right when selecting a service and not blindly believe what any shredding service is trying to sell you.

I don't believe there should be a "shredding service industry". Shredding is a security function and should fall under the classification of the security industry. Don't let a shredding service dictate your security practices. The above is a prime example. If a company's security practices are solid, they shouldn't need to mislead.

                                            Update to the above: I checked the IPSA website on 6/16/07 and the misleading statement about the "FTC Disposal Rule" is now gone from the site. It would appear that the FTC took some action here.


Knisely shredding has been trying to expose the false advertising and deceptive business practice issues in the shredding industry. Check out FTC News under the "About Douglas Knisely" section of this website.


ASIS PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION BOARD states that Certified Protection Professionals (CPP's) do not make recommendations involving the NAID "AAA" program and DO NOT CERTIFY ANY PROCESS. This deserves repeating, DO NOT CERTIFY ANY PROCESS!!!

If the internationally recognized SECURITY PROFESSIONALS (CPP's) don't certify the "AAA" process, where does the credibility come from? What's the purpose of using CPP's other than to possibly give an illusion of security. Have your security personnel thoroughly review the guidelines.

See the ASIS, PCB letter below.  



Proof that what I'm saying is true.

Manufacturers of pierce-and-tear shred trucks call to invite me to look at their trucks, hoping for a sale.  Below is an email I received from one of these manufacturers.  I received this response because of my concerns of large shred and missed pieces.

"Subj:   Re: Invitation to response

Date:    3/26/2007 11:03:11 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time

From:    Purposely left blank

To:       Dkknisely@aol.com

Hi Doug,

"All our shredders have been updated to prevent this from happening. In the past, on rare occasions, checks could slip through untouched on the edges of the shredder.  Changes have been made to redirect paper into the knives by adding a deflector plate and blank knife to the shredder stack up.

From a shred size stand point there are machines that will shred finer than the ____________.  The advantage of that is questionable.  Most of this business is price driven and bigger profits can be had by buying the fastest, most efficient and reliable.  Small shred size may win the occasional contract but it usually results in lower throughput numbers and additional time and money spent at each job.

Kind Regards,



I know they didn't change all the old trucks and was told by a user that the new trucks have the same problem.  This user told me they have to re-shred the material once they get it back to their building to get the material to a secure size.

I believe the above says it all.  But, below is a portion of an email I received from another pierce-and-tear company asking me to remove a photo from my website of a pile of paper that came from their truck.

"I understand that you have a point to make about security, but we would have never...NEVER given you permission to take and illustrate this photo to benefit your company and paint our process and the process preferred by 95% of the MDS marketplace, in a negative light"

If the photo of a pile of paper paints their truck and 95% of the shred trucks in a bad light, this should put you on notice to demand to see the finish product.

These emails show that 95% of the shredding companies using the pierce-and-tear technology do so because the can make more money by shredding large, allowing them to service more customers in a day.   It takes time to shred small and secure.   It's preferred by the shredding companies because it increases profits, but it's not preferred by security professionals.



If you still need convincing, keep reading.   Below is another email from a pierce-and-tear shred truck maker.

Subj: RE: New Technology From ______________

Date: 2/4/2008  11:21:29 A.M. Eastern Standard Time

From:  Purposely left blank

To:    Dkknisely@aol.com

"Hi Doug,

The shred size on this system is the same (perhaps marginally smaller) than our other trucks.  We have made big improvements to the cutting chamber, on all our machines, to reduce full checks and other oversized pieces from migrating through the system.  This has been accomplished by altering the design at each end of the cutting chamber."

Note - they stated to "Reduce" oversized pieces and checks from migrating through the system.  They admit these trucks miss paper. Keep reading.

"We are constantly evaluating throughput performance versus shred-size to make sure our equipment is positioned to accommodate most of the shredding market. According to our informal customer feedback we estimate that 90% of the end user market is price and service driven while only 10% of customers make a final buying decision based on shred size. Given these conditions we tend to choose higher throughput performance over smaller shred sizing."

Note - They're trying to accommodate the shredding market, not the security market.  

"We have installed 3/8" knives in some of our machines which greatly improved the final product size. Increased wear factors and slower performance made the set up unpopular and we rarely sell it anymore."

Note - Shred companies using pierce-and-tear can have smaller size outputs, but they're more concerned about their bottom line than your security.

"In terms of achieving small shred size at a decent speed your hammermills probably provide the best option.  Hammermill performance does come at a cost, namely dust and high maintenance. Given the current price driven market conditions most people are not willing to put up with these disadvantages."

When they say most people aren't will to put up with these conditions, they're saying most shredding companies don't want to go that extra mile for your security.

"The "security shredder" term is one we have used for some time and is simply the marketing description for our equipment. It is still the 5/8" knife width set up that is NAID "AAA" certifiable. Since that certification has been made to accommodate the majority of equipment in use its value as a "security standard" could be fairly questioned. DIN standards are much more stringent. I have attached a description for your reference."

This is huge. I appreciate this company's honesty about their shred size and their questioning the validity of the NAID "AAA" certification.

The DIN standard they are referring to is the European shred standard.

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