Types of Confidential Waste
We all produce a lot more confidential waste than we used to. Whether that’s bank statements we keep at home and then religiously shred or various kinds of data or hard drives that we have at work, the necessity of disposing of this kind of waste in an appropriate and secure manner is becoming increasingly important.
While, for most of us at home, it’s a question of personal security, for businesses and other organisations, including schools and colleges, the primary consideration is for data protection. There are a number of issues associated with this including what is classed as sensitive data and how it is handled in the office or organisation concerned. The seventh principal of the 1998 Data Protection Act states that:
“Appropriate technical and organisational measures should be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data, and against accidental loss or destruction of or damage to personal data.”
That means any careless disposal of waste that has a data component connected to it could lead the enterprise to be found liable for breach of the act and face criminal charges. This can have a number of other ramifications. For instance, it can damage the reputation of a company. And, of course, it can cause serious problems for individuals who have had their personal data stolen or misused.
The range of confidential waste is actually quite large. In hard copy form it can include:
- Office documents and paperwork.
- Accounting information including personal credit card details.
- Reporting documents.
- Photographs and x-rays.
But confidential waste can also include digital information which we often tend to forget about when it comes to disposal. This can include:
- CDs and DVDs.
- Computer hard drives.
- Mobile phones and tablets.
- Flash disks and memory cards.
Confidential waste can also include video recordings, police interview recordings, medical x-rays, and even products such as clothing and branded wear. All this has to be disposed of in a responsible manner.
While many of us can handle the shredding of document waste, we are often a little less religious when it comes to property such as computer hard drives. Businesses often discard their old PCs without worrying about the data protection problems inherent in these devices. Simply reformatting of the drive does not mean that the data on it is destroyed or made illegible – there are hackers and software specialists who extract it and then make use of things like credit card details and other sensitive data.
Find out more about confidential waste management.