If you work in a laboratory, you will likely come across documents that you need to get rid of for one reason or another. No matter what kind of sensitive information these papers hold, it’s important that you dispose of them in a way that keeps that information permanently secure. Of course, Scientific Notebook designs its high-quality bound lab notebooks and other scientific or engineering journals to keep your information safe and secure, making it difficult to destroy these papers. However, there are a few ways to permanently get rid of such documents. To help you keep your information secure, here’s our guide on how to destroy sensitive lab documents.
When many people think of how to destroy sensitive lab documents, a paper shredder is the first thing that springs to mind. Be sure to use a crosscut shredder when destroying your documents. This will create even smaller strips of paper, making it harder to piece together the document. Once you shred the document, separate the pieces of paper into separate bags. Keep the paper shreds in a secure location until your facility’s trash day so they spend as little time as possible out in the open.
You can pulp sensitive documents by placing them in a tall, wide container and dousing them with a mixture of water and bleach. This solution will break down the paper and destroy the colorant of the ink, making it illegible. Submerge the documents—remember not to touch the bleach solution with your bare hands—and let them soak for a day. Next, blend the documents with the solution using an electric mixer, such as a paint mixer, until you have a uniform mash. Let this mash dry in the sunlight, then dispose of it through your regular garbage service.
If you’re going to burn your sensitive documents, make sure you abide by local laws and regulations. Fire pits or professional burn cages are the best way to safely and thoroughly burn your documents. Burn your documents in small amounts to ensure that you completely destroy each individual piece of paper. After the fire is out, check the ashes for any remaining pieces of paper. Burn these remains and repeat the process until you’ve destroyed all parts of your documents. Let the ashes cool to a safe temperature, then scatter them.