On Friday, July 22, from 6:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., University of Rochester employees flocked to Park Lot to participate in the sixth annual Shred Fest – an event hosted by University Facilities and Services that provides employees a place to securely dispose of their personal documents for free. The University partners with Iron Mountain, a company that specializes in secure shredding services. This year, a total of 18,220 pounds was collected, making this the second largest collection out of all six paper shredding events held at the University!
Each year University staff show their enthusiasm for Shred Fest. Patty LaRosa, from the Office of Financial Aid, was very happy to attend her first Shred Fest. “It’s my first time at Shred Fest and I’m so happy to be able to get rid of about 20 years of stuff!”
Catherine Bosnee, whose husband works at the University, said that she and her husband “look forward to Shred Fest year after year.”
“It’s hugely helpful!” said Liz Flanagan, from the College Center for Advising Services, as she unloaded her documents from her car.
Julie LaRosa, who is studying Human Development and Counseling at the Warner School, said “I think this is an absolutely wonderful opportunity and service. Thank you so much!”
Why is Shred Fest so popular? Many people are hesitant to recycle personal documents in an open curb-side recycling bin for fear that documents will be wind-blown or easily taken by passers-by. So some opt to put their documents in their enclosed garbage container instead causing large quantities of paper to end up in landfills rather than being recycled. Others hold on to the material in file cabinets and boxes until they can be safely disposed of. While desktop shredders are an option, they are not very convenient for shredding large quantities of personal documents.
As a solution to this problem, the first annual Shred Fest was held in 2011. Shred Fest has the dual purpose of protecting against identity theft, while also being environmentally responsible. The event takes place in Park Lot, where people can drive up and unload their documents with the help of volunteers. Boxes, bags, and bins of paper are emptied into locked 65-gallon containers. These containers are then loaded into the Iron Mountain truck on-site where they are securely shredded. Participants can even watch their documents being shredded via a live camera inside the truck. All the shredded paper is then recycled.
About 4,000 more pounds of paper was collected this year than last year. More weight was collected from this Shred Fest than during some of the annual E-Cycle Day events! Throughout the day, 95 totes of material were securely shredded and recycled. In the first half-hour alone, 15 totes were filled and by 8:30 a.m. 67 totes were filled.
Sustainability Coordinator Amy Kadrie, who coordinates this event each year, says the very busy time in the early morning hours is due to most participants choosing to drop off their material before their work shift begins for the day. “Our early morning event volunteers work extra hard!” says Kadrie. “But I am so grateful for the help of all the volunteers who take time out of their day to help with this event. We have even started getting ‘regulars’ who return for multiple recycling events, like E-Cycle Day and the GameDay Recycling Challenge.”
The event was a success thanks to the many volunteers who worked at Shred Fest, IronMountain, and everyone who attended to recycle their documents. Event volunteers included Jon Marini (Mail Services), Liz Pearson (Horticulture and Grounds), Mike Preston (Mail Services), Casey Weaver (Mail Services), Adil Nyambasha (Class of 2018), Alyssa Lemire (Class of 2017), and Edin Polozanin (Facilities Customer Service Center). Photos of this year’s event are available on the UR Sustainable Facebook page.
If you missed this year’s event, there is no need to worry. University Facilities and Services hosts Shred Fest each summer. If you’re interested in attending, it’s never too early to start collecting your confidential papers.
Written by Alyssa Lemire, Class of 2017