What is a Certificate of Destruction in the Context of Shredding Services?

Shredding is a form of confidential waste disposal. It’s a highly effective way to 100% destroy documents. These documents could be anything from supplier lists to personal or financial details. As a business it is a legal requirement that sensitive documents are destroyed in line with the Data Protection Act.

Shredding companies, after they’ve destroyed your documents, will, and should, issue you with a Certificate of Destruction or COD. But what exactly is a COD, and why is it important?

Perhaps a little unhelpfully, there is no uniformity between one COD offered by one company and another offered by a different company. Essentially, they may look very different but  they should carry very similar items of information. For example, they should have a transaction number, have space for a witness signature, i.e. to verify that destruction has taken place, and  carry information about the time and location where the shredding took place.

A COD is an important document for your records, but there are certain things that it can’t do. For instance, even an itemised COD does not serve as legal proof that certain documents have been destroyed. There are certain reasons for this, not least the added responsibility it would put upon shredding companies.

What a COD can do, however, is prove that shredding took place and you’re working in line with legislation like the Data Protection Act.