The City of Allentown Bureau of Recycling & Solid Waste is now offering paper shredding services to city residents.
Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Public Works Director Craig Messinger and Bureau of Recycling & Solid Waste Manager Ann Saurman unveiled the city’s new Ameri-Shred, Model AMS-4000 Series 3 paper shredding machine at a news conference today at the city’s Yard Waste site at 1401 Oxford Drive.
Residents and city businesses can watch their sensitive and confidential information shredded into three/eighth inch width strips through the new machine. The nearly $61,000 paper shredding system was funded by a $50,000 Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Act 101, Section 902 Grant and the city’s Solid Waste Fund.
It is recommended that any documents bearing your social security number, name, address and birth date be shredded along with any financial documents, bank statements, credit and debit card statements, receipts and health records.
“I urge our residents to avail themselves of this new opportunity to shred important documents,” said Pawlowski. “The reality is that people have their identities stolen every day and they reduce their chances of that happening by using this new paper shredder.”
According to the 2017 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier. In the past six years identity thieves have stolen over $107 billion.
The city will now be able to shred in-house for the Allentown Police Department and the Health Bureau. These departments need to witness the destruction of documents to meet state requirements.
The paper shredding service is available by appointment only on the third Wednesday of every month from 8am to 12pm weather permitting and on the third Saturday of each month from April to November from 8am to 11am. Residents and businesses must call 610-437-8729 to make an appointment.
The shredder will be operated by Bureau of Recycling & Solid Waste maintenance workers. It is estimated that the machine can shred 20 to 25 banker boxes an hour.
It is important to shred paper only! Staples are permitted, but paper clips, binder clips, plastic folders, three ring binders, etc. are not allowed. Items containing any of those banned items will be rejected.
Manilla folders, hanging folders, magazines, flyers, brochures and general documents are among those paper items that do not have to be shredded.
Paper shredded at the city’s site is transported to Newman Paper Company in Philadelphia where it is recycled into paperboard and boxes.
Saurman said getting this project up and running has been a team effort. “Eric Trobetsky, Operations Manager, Bureau of Recycling and Solid Waste coordinated the installation project. The Streets Bureau constructed a 12’x 29’ x 6” deep concrete pad on the site and both streets and parks dug out and installed protective concrete bollards. The city electrician from the Bureau of Building Maintenance performed the electrical work. Electrical and building inspections were performed by the Bureau of Building Standards and Safety. City maintenance workers from recycling and these other bureaus also assisted.”
The city will continue to maintain the locked roll-off container at the Drop-off Center on MLK Drive. Residents may still ask the attendant to lock up their confidential documents. The one difference is that instead of loose paper inside the container being hauled to Newman, the city will have carts lined up inside the locked container. The carts will be brought to the shredder by Recycling staff, utilizing a newly purchased hydraulic cart tipper, and shred the material.