In-plants are involved in nearly every aspect of a document's life cycle, from design through mailing. So why not complete the cycle by adding shredding to the list of services?
Several in-plants have done this, and are having great success at it. One of these is Printing Services at California State University, San Bernardino, which started offering shredding services on July 1.
"It's quite popular, and the campus is really happy that we're doing it," says Laura Sicklesteel, manager of the seven-employee operation.
It's also been a money maker for the in-plant, which charges $25 to shred the contents of a 64-gallon bin, and $15 for a smaller console shredding bin. In the first month of business, the in-plant generated more than $1,200 in revenue from shredding.
"So we're going to recover the cost of the equipment really quick," remarks Sicklesteel.
What's more, the in-plant gets $170 per ton from a local recycler for its print waste and shredded material. This is a much better deal than the university gets for its recycled material; it pays the city to haul away its recycling dumpsters.
"This takes quite a bit of printed matter and waste paper out of that stream," she says. "Now all of our print waste and the recycled [shredded] documents are a revenue positive stream for our department."
An added bonus, she points out, is that in-house shredding is a much "greener" option than having contractors bring diesel-burning trucks onto campus to shred.
Big Demand for Service
Printing Services got into the shredding business simply because of the demand for the service.
"The purchasing office, for many years now, has asked us to take on the campus-wide shredding," Sicklesteel says. Over the past 18 months, she adds, the campus has outsourced $28,000 worth of shredding, so she knew it would be a good business to get into.
To accomplish the task, the in-plant purchased an MBM DestroyIt 5009 cross-cut shredder with a 24-horsepower motor.
"It was robust enough to handle the anticipated volume," she says. Along with it, the shop bought a bin dumper, to empty bins onto a flat table, and 50 collection containers. The shredder has a 31⁄2-foot infeed conveyor, onto which the doomed documents are piled for continuous feeding through the shredding blades. If there's a jam, the machine automatically reverses to clear it. With hardened steel cutting shafts, it can handle some pretty thick materials, too, such as phone books.
"We shred CDs, DVDs. It will take up to a 4˝ three-ring binder," lists Sicklesteel, adding that there is a lifetime warranty on the blades. The shredder is easy to operate, with a push button control panel and electronically secured safety guard. It does require frequent oiling, she notes. Operators do this every time they process a full bin.
Document Termination in Texas
The need for frequent oiling is something that another in-plant learned the hard way when it started offering shredding. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, got into shredding six years ago when an affiliated hospital offered the Lubbock-based in-plant its GBC Shredmaster Conveyor 400. A growing interest in this service due to security concerns and a desire to eliminate the costs of outsourcing shredding let to the purchase of an MBM Destroyit 4107 shredder in March 2010.
"It worked very well for about 18 months," notes Arthur Paré, assistant director of General Services. But because operators had only oiled the machine with the frequency stated in the owners' manual instead of "super oiling" it for the first year, he says, the teeth were not properly seasoned and became brittle. Eventually some of them broke.
"So in 2012 we purchased an Intimus Model 1650 cross-cut shredder with an automatic oiler," Paré says. "So now we have three industrial shredders in operation."
The in-plant charges by the pound, which provides customers with a much better deal than the shredding contractors did, since they charged a set fee for each bin emptied. The shop charges $0.20 per pound, so the maximum charge for a 64-gallon bin is $44. Departments are also allowed to shred their own materials for free. In the past year, Paré says, his shop has shredded more than 35 tons of material. Recyclers pay the in-plant $40 per ton of shredded material.
Getting the Word Out
To promote its shredding capabilities, CSUSB sends out flyers and e-mails, and lists shredding prominently on its Web site, where customers can also fill out a form to request pickup or a new bin.
"On tax day, we had a free shredding event," notes Sicklesteel. "That was really popular." At other times, though, shredding of personal material is a paid service.
Sicklesteel admits there were lots of hurdles to jump before getting this service going, particularly involving the security procedures (see sidebar).
"It was a bit cumbersome to implement, but now that it's said and done, it's very valuable, and it's going to be very profitable," she reports. "It's kept us a little more visible and given us one more service we're providing."
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.