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The data protection act – are people aware of the risks?

As friends of UNTHA UK and regular visitors to our website will know, we try to focus upon a different application or material stream every couple of months, to ensure we spread as much of our varied knowledge as possible.

And recently we’ve covered the subject of confidential waste quite extensively. Our popular ‘How to Shred’ videos have looked at this fairly complex area of recycling in the past few weeks. Our confidential waste expert Dan Fairest has also penned some thoughts regarding the importance of clients balancing their environmental conscience with the legal obligation to securely destroy products such as sensitive documents, hard drives, bank notes and so on. His advice-led commentary is set to appear in the journal Pulp, Paper & Logistics very soon.

But we’re always keen to know your thoughts too, which is why our most recent online poll focused on the topic as well. At the start of June we asked: ‘Did you know organisations face fines of up to £500,000 for serious breaches of the data protection act?’ And by the end of the month, the results were fairly balanced.

40% of respondents said that yes, they were aware of the significant financial penalties, whilst 60% admitted that they did not know this was a possible outcome if falling on the wrong side of the law.

It just goes to show the dangers associated with not being fully aware of an organisation’s legal duty to protect the company’s and employees’ sensitive information. There are wider risks too, of course, including fraud, identity theft, reputational damage, and even things such as unwanted exposure to competitors’ if ‘trade secrets’ were leaked. In fact, this extension of the confidential waste topic is covered in our poll question for July, if you’d like to take part.

Of course businesses are striving to work ever-smarter following a few very difficult years, but the handling of confidential waste is one area where corners cannot be cut. The law exists to protect companies and the working population alike, and organisations need to know where their responsibilities lie.

The Information Commissioner’s Office provides a very rich source of knowledge and insight on the subject, so a visit to their website would prove a valuable next step for business owners who want to ensure utmost compliance. In terms of destroying or disposing of confidential waste, it is important to seek a reputable BSEN15713-accredited contractor to work with. Alternatively you can invest in your own independently certified DIN 66399 shredder(s) to destroy confidential materials on your own site, for maximum peace of mind. And of course, when it comes to those, you need look no further than us!

To discuss your confidential waste shredding requirements, please contact us on 0845 450 5388 or email


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UNTHA UK is the country’s leading supplier of innovative waste shredding technology and waste management expertise. Combining unparalleled technological manufacturing capabilities with decades of UK marketplace and shredding application expertise, UNTHA UK delivers an insightful, personable and value-adding service which has cemented the company’s position as the number one waste machinery provider in the country. ISOQAR Registered
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