Recommended Procedures for Destruction of Non-permanent University Records
It often becomes impractical or impossible to destroy non-permanent University records using common office shredders. Offices
therefore struggle with records destruction methods and may opt to retain information longer than necessary.
To simplify the process of destroying University records, the Records Management Program offers the following recommendations.
When to destroy records:
When not to destroy records:
Records destruction should be:
Duke uses a number of recycling and records destruction vendors to securely destroy and/or remove inactive records and media. Contact Procurement Services or the University Records Manager for information on area service providers.
If you must routinely destroy large amounts of loose paper, ask a vendor if it can supply bins in which to store the documents. Bins may or may not have locks, so be sure to inquire about locking bins if you handle confidential or sensitive information.
Time vs. weight
A records destruction vendor may charge by the time it takes to remove and shred the material, or by the material's overall weight. Evaluate the volume of records to be destroyed and resulting costs before deciding on which method to use. Take the time to remove fasteners like large paper clips, binder clips, 3-ring binders, and rubber bands. They add to the weight and must be removed so as not to contaminate the waste paper.
Onsite vs. offsite
A records destruction vendor may come to your building and shred materials onsite, or it may haul the materials to its own facility and shred them there. Your decision to use onsite or offsite destruction should be based on the volume of records to be destroyed, references, and your potential desire to witness the destruction.
Documenting the destruction
Create a clear, concise inventory of the record types to be destroyed. It is not necessary to document what is in every file folder, but collect enough information to answer future questions about what was removed. Examples include:
To further document destruction, make sure a vendor provides a certificate of destruction promptly after destroying the records, and keep the certificate and inventory together.
If you have questions
Contact the Duke University Archives at 660-5820.
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