Grateful Shred

Today the New York Times reports the latest word on continued shredding of documents at Enron. “The materials destroyed by a private company, Shredco, included items like payroll runs, old personnel records, performance reviews, medical records and other items that he called “sensitive employee documents.”

Wait a minute. Shredco? What is this, the Jetsons? Anyway, it’s true: Upon further investigation, there really is a Shredco. Its motto, as currently rendered on the firm’s site, is: “You threw it away … or so you thought. Now you’re being sued. Don’t just throw it away … Destroy it! Shredco Inc. We guarantee destruction.” Elsewhere the site brags that “Shredco mobile shredding units can destroy up to 8,000 pounds of material per hour. … There is no need to sort or prepare files; our shredder will easily grind file folders, paper clips and metal fasteners. We can also shred computer disks and tapes, CDs, video tapes, film, ribbons, X-rays and mylar.” And so on.

The Wall Street Journal, by the way, has a great story today about the shredding business. Although I don’t think Shredco is mentioned, though the piece does say there are about 600 such a firms, a figure attributed to the National Association for Information Destruction. (What is this, Orwell? The NAID is also real—be sure to download the press release “Shredding is Good!” from the group’s Web site, for an alternate view of this maligned corporate practice.) The Journal story also passes along an estimate that $1.5 billion is spent on shredding services annually.

While we’re on the subject of shredding, here’s a brief history from Newsweek. And while we’re on the subject of company names: Has any forced corporate name change ever worked out better for the changee than Andersen Consulting’s switch to Accenture? It may sound dumb—but at least no one associates it with congressional hearings.