Disposing of documents

This is a brief guide to disposing of documents.

Paper documents

Is it confidential?

Some things you throw away will be confidential. This could include personal information about staff or students, drafts of policies that are not yet approved, or copies of minutes that are not normally published. Confidential waste consoles have been provided in various locations across our Colchester campus (.pdf)

All confidential materials should be placed in the console provided. Your console will be emptied every 4 weeks by an operative from our supplier, Shred Station. Please check the service schedule (.pdf) for the date of the next collection. The consoles are located in secure locations within your areas, please ensure that these are accessible at all times for collection. If you require additional collections to remove excess confidential material please contact tdunn@shredstation.co.uk and request an ad hoc collection. You will be provided with secure sacks in which to place your confidential material and a date of collection. Please note if you require a collection outside of the normal collection schedule that there is a minimum collection value of 35 bags.  All additional bags must be booked with Shred Station in advance of the scheduled service visits, bags left next to consoles will not be collected unless there is a prior booking for removal.

If you place an item into your secure console that you then wish to retrieve this will be carried out on your next service visit unless in exceptional circumstances. Paper that would usually be shredded should be placed in the console with any excess paper that does not contain confidential information placed in the nearest recycling bins in the corridors. EMS Helpdesk will no longer accept requests for confidential waste collections so please use the consoles provided. Requests for additional consoles should be made via softfm@essex.ac.uk

Are you sure you want to throw it out?

Please check carefully that you are throwing out the item you mean to dispose of. Check that you haven’t got other documents accidentally caught up in the same folder or paperclip. Check that the retention schedule allows you to throw the item away.


If paper isn’t confidential and you’re sure you can get rid of it, then please think of the environment and recycle!

Electronic documents


Don’t forget that email proliferates. The copy in your inbox could be just one of many. Check your sent items, deleted items and draft folders. It’s useful to empty out your sent items and deleted items on a regular basis in any case as these count towards your total email quota.

Documents on your computer

When you delete a document on your computer it hasn’t really gone anywhere at all. Normally it has just been relocated to the recycle bin. You should empty the recycle bin on a regular basis. Technically it is still possible to retrieve the document, but for most normal purposes we can assume that if it’s removed from the recycle bin it has gone. When your PC is decommissioned or passed on ITS will always ensure that data left on the hard drive is overwritten to make it hard for anyone else to access it.

Documents on removable media

For a CD, memory key (USB drive) it’s just as easy to physically break it to prevent future access. If in doubt, contact the IT Helpdesk for advice.

Find out more

Arrow symbol
Contact us
Information Assurance Manager
Telephone: 01206 872285