7 Reasons You Should Get a Certificate of Destruction
There are some things you can’t throw out with the trash. They require shredding, burning, compacting, burying, or other similar and final means of destruction. But even that’s not good enough. With the strong possibility of fraud, legal battles, and the like, you need hard proof that you eliminated the documents, devices, waste products, or other materials. For proof and peace of mind, you need a certificate of destruction issued by the company hired to handle the job. Here are seven reasons you should get a certificate of destruction, what it means, and what you can do with it.
A certificate of destruction isn’t just proof that you had items destroyed, though it does perform this very important function as well. The certificate provides details on how the company demolished the items, including the procedure and methods used to do so, the facility destroying the waste, and who did it. The document is a necessity for businesses and services that work under laws and regulations governing the privacy of personal records, hazardous waste disposal, and the like. Having the certificate provides proof of due diligence in the face of an audit, investigation, or other legal issues. There are predetermined standards for how you must destroy certain materials, and the certificate shows that you followed those procedures.
Gone for Good
In the case of documents, a certificate of destruction proves all that information is gone forever or safely stored away. The same is true with medical, toxic, and similar wastes. Consumers, government agencies, administrators, and others in charge of such things require this added assurance that you deal with everything safely. Otherwise, you may be in store for some nasty fines and other penalties if you can’t show proof of destruction. Don’t forget that your reputation is at stake as well. Patients, partners, and others involved in the process need to know that they can trust you to protect documents, items, and substances that should never get into the wrong hands.
A Record of the Record
It might sound counterintuitive, but when you destroy a document, you need to have a record of that document and what happened to it. The same goes for other dangerous waste products. You want to eliminate the possibility of anyone accessing the original information or encountering the waste, but for your own purposes, you need to remember that they existed.
Certificates of destruction chart the fact that you destroyed documents, devices, or other items. The certificates also contain your name, address, job number, and how they destroyed the documents. They can even contain the name of the agent and the company that offered document or product destruction services. These certificates are nothing if not thorough. If, down the line, anyone wonders whatever happened to all that “stuff,” you’ll have the answer.
A company that promises to make your waste go away—no questions asked and without documentation—isn’t a trustworthy company. Not every state or region requires you to have a certificate of destruction. Still, a waste disposal company that keeps records, goes by the book, and can present you with documentation at every step is the one you want to hire. What seems like an easy way to unload waste products may come back to haunt you. And what will you do if you don’t have records, especially if the company was a fly-by-night operation? Ask for a certificate of destruction, bills of lading, and any other necessary documentation. If they tell you not to worry about it, walk away. You don’t need that potential grief.
Answering to the Agencies
Depending on your business, you may need to deal with any number of governmental agencies charged with monitoring the disposal of your waste. The big one is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which deals with the disposal of hazardous waste. But there may be other groups in the local, state, and federal governments who have a say in where your waste goes.
OSHA protects your employees from the likelihood of injuries or death from working with or getting rid of your trash. Local health departments will be interested in any medical waste disposal in their backyard. The Department of Transportation needs to know if you’re carrying any hazardous materials on the nation’s roads and railroad tracks. And so forth. The company you’re contracting with should have a thorough awareness of the legalities involved in disposing of your waste, and the certificate of destruction should provide a breakdown of how they will address these issues.
Protecting Your Assets and Brand
If you need to eliminate a large quantity of unsold products, contact a waste disposal company. If you want to make sure they’re not going to turn around and sell whatever they promise to destroy, ask for a certificate of destruction that outlines where those products are going and their eventual fate. Is it a guarantee that they’ll do the job? Maybe not, but it provides proof that they violated the terms of the contract, leaving them open to a lawsuit. Serious waste disposal companies won’t waste your time or take advantage of you, your products, and your brand.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Finally, a certificate of destruction is a security blanket of sorts. When you have it, you know that the information is gone for good and not coming back. At least it better not. Otherwise, the company that performed the shredding, demolition, or what-have-you will be responsible for any negligence. You can’t have an informational security breach if the information no longer exists. Make sure the company destroying your information promises a certificate of destruction, get it, and file it away for future reference. And, obviously, make sure it doesn’t end up in the disposal pile!
Those are seven reasons why you should get a certificate of destruction after working with a company to destroy old records and devices. If you have any questions about certificates of destruction or other relevant subjects, contact Clean Management Environmental Group for a consultation today!