The folks at the Environmental Protection Agency aren't the only ones to have discovered the efficacy of paper shredders. Businesses that shred obsolete but sensitive documents obtain greater security, conserve storage space, and get highr rates from waste recyclers.

Rudco Industries Inc., a check printing company in Paramus, N.J., operates a shredder at every one of its 10 prining plants, and has bailers at 3 of the plants. The company plans to install bailers at the remaining 7 plants this year. The shredders cost about $7,000 each and can shred a total of 3,500 pounds an hour. The bailers, which cost about $7,500 each, can bail about 2,500 pounds an hour. The company uses the equipment to destroy such items as obsolete personnel records, extra or returned orders of personalized checks, and any other paper of a potentially sensitive nature.

"Our paramount reason for having the shredders is security," says John DeRosa, Rudco's assistant vice-president of purchasing. But the shredders also prevent storage areas from becoming crammed with useless reams of paper, and make waste handling easier and more efficient.

According to DeRosa, the shredded and bailed waste paper takes up about 75% less space than unshredded paper. The company's imprinting plant in Teaneck, N.J., for instance, can fit as many as eight 250-pound bales on a single 48" by 40" skid. "The alternative would be eight 400-pound hampers scattered all over the floor," says DeRosa.

The Teaneck plant generates two to five 250-pound bales of waste paper a day. About 60% of the paper is placed on forlklift skids and picked up by a paper disposal service. The remaining 40% is sold to a paper recycler for about $45 a ton; if the paper wasn't conveniently shredded and bailed, the recycler would pay about half that amount.