Paper shredders are used to cut paper into chad, typically either strips or fine particles. Government organizations, businesses, and private individuals use shredders to destroy private, confidential, or otherwise sensitive documents. Privacy experts often recommend that individuals shred bills, credit card and bank account statements, and other documents which could be used by thieves to commit fraud or identity theft.
The first paper shredder is
credited to prolific inventor Abbot Augustus Low of Horseshoe,
Adolf Ehinger's paper shredder,
based on a hand-crank pasta maker, was manufactured in 1935 in
A mobile shredding truck is a box truck with an industrial sized paper shredder mounted inside the box, typically in the front section of the box, closest to the cab. The box is divided into two sections: the shredding equipment area, and the payload area for storage of the shredded materials. These trucks have been designed to shred up to 8,000 lbs of paper an hour. Mobile shredding trucks can have a shredded material storage capacity of 6,000 to 15,000 pounds of shredded paper. Office paper is the typical material being shredded, but with increasing security concerns customers also request shredding of CDs, DVDs, hard drives, credit cards, and uniforms, among other things. There are many manufactures for mobile shredding trucks, while only a few are among those that design equipment in house.
Due to information privacy laws like FACTA, HIPAA and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act the volume of shredding at the typical business has increased dramatically. Some companies outsource their shredding to shredding services. These companies either shred on-site, with mobile shredder trucks or have off-site shredding facilities. Some mobile shredding companies then send the shredded paper to a paper mill where it is recycled.
The 'cutting head' of a small shredder.
As with any motorized cutting equipment, there is a risk of injury. Small residential shredders are becoming more and more common. These shredders, although designed with a narrow opening to the cutting wheels, still pose a danger to pets and small children. Many home shredders can be left in a "stand-by" mode that will start the cutting process when anything is inserted into the feed slot. In homes with small children or pets, simply keeping the shredder unplugged while not in use can greatly reduce any risk.  Many new shredders on the market now feature improved safety features.