Destruction brings new birth to sensitive data

New grass mulch, paper plaster or concrete – such is recycled use for waste, the former content is better kept an eternal secret. 

«We came for the full container,» says G4S indo protection truck driver Raido, addressing a lady employee meeting him at a company door.  

«We have these on two floors,» says the lady.

«The schedule says we only change one today,» says the driver.

«Do you know whose?» he is asked.

«We’ll find out which is which,» smiles the guy.

An everyday routine. G4S Infokaitseteenus has four buses rolling along roads of Estonia, picking up sensitive data carriers from businesses and agencies – to be destroyed.

Behold a container. Photo: Liis Treimann

PHOTO: LIIS TREIMANN/PM/SCANPIX BALTICS

Some come along or order a movie

These past 18 years, the destruction mainly happens at Ääsmäe plant. Sales manager Kertu Vahtra says the schedule of picking the stuff up varies – every 7, 14 or 28 days, or according to need.

Meet one of the four buses. Photo: Liis Treimann

PHOTO: LIIS TREIMANN/PM/SCANPIX BALTICS

«At the moment, the clients number about 480. Then there are those who order the service, twice a year say,» says Ms Vahtra.

Just to be sure, the containers are sealed till destruction.

The security seal. Photo: Liis Treimann

PHOTO: LIIS TREIMANN/PM/SCANPIX BALTICS

Should they so desire, a representative will drive along to be eyewitness to the destruction.

An option is to have the procedure filmed. To rest easy, the staff will afterwards watch the movie about how the seal is broken and the content perishes forever. This is rare, however. «Some always come along, like the public lottery company Eesti Loto,» notes Ms Vahtra.

Shredder pales in comparison

The Ääsmäe plant features crushing lines. Special systems to destroy papers, confiscated alcohol or cigarettes, electronic data carriers like hard disks or CDs.  

Once at Ääsmäe, destruction is swift. Photo: Liis Treimann

PHOTO: LIIS TREIMANN/PM/SCANPIX BALTICS

See: no delay. Photo: Liis Treimann

PHOTO: LIIS TREIMANN/PM/SCANPIX BALTICS

As the bus drives onto plant area, 16 cameras scrutinise it all. As content of containers is weighed, the end comes immediately.  

In 2014, 2,400 tonnes of waste went thru the plant. Of that a hundred tonnes were goods sent to be destroyed. 1,400 tonnes was data. Of the latter, half was paper. The vast shredder separates clips and all things metal.  

Any old shredder won’t do – who knows, the ribbons may be clued together by a baddie.

In mega-shredder, metal goes its separate way. Photo: Liis Treimann

PHOTO: LIIS TREIMANN/PM/SCANPIX BALTICS

Once we were documents. Photo: Liis Treimann

PHOTO: LIIS TREIMANN/PM/SCANPIX BALTICS

The new life

For the paper powder, abundant are the recycling options. All kinds of paper products will emerge, like for the kitchen and the toilet. Also, paper plaster comes in handy on walls – for warmth and for beauty. Landscapers have shown interest for paper mulch, useful while sowing grass.

Not snow. Paper mulch! Photo: Liis Treimann

PHOTO: LIIS TREIMANN/PM/SCANPIX BALTICS

What about destroyed contraband cigarettes? Smell them in concrete. With lots of other stuff to separate which would be nonsense.  

Thinking about hard disks and CDs? These meet their demise under a press with hitting weight of 30 tonnes. To be really-really sure the data cannot be restored.

Data gone forever. Photo: Liis Treimann

PHOTO: LIIS TREIMANN/PM/SCANPIX BALTICS

As for contraband alcohol, engineers from Tallinn Tech have custom made a machine which separates bottles and content. The latter is the single thing not for repeat human consumption. Sewage treatment drinks it all.

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