Records Shredding

Sat hours: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Records Shredding

As of November 1, 2012, the University Archives and Records Center no longer provides direct confidential shredding of records from campus offices. [see the rationale here]

Offices that need direct shredding of confidential or other eligible records must establish an account directly with one of the university's contracted shredding vendors.  To initiate service, contact Barbara Lewis in Business Services at x3068See more instructions below.


  • The University Archives and Records Center will still provide shredding for all non-permanent records that are stored in the Records Center for university departments/offices/programs. 
  • Records with "archival" designation (digital or paper) must not be destroyed.  Archival records are records with long-term historical or legal value.  These records must be transferred to the University Archives for long-term preservation.  Call x3124 with any questions.
  • Records subject to legal holds or public records requests must not be destroyed until the hold is lifted.  Legal holds may be required due to litigation, investigation, audit, public records request, or other official action requiring a suspension of records destruction.  In these cases, affected records (paper or digital) must not be destroyed until the hold is formally lifted.


How to set up individual shredding service at WWU

The information below is provided as a courtesy only:  University Archives and Records Center is not the coordinator of shredding service on campus. All information should be verified with the vendor and with Barbara Lewis in WWU Business Services (x3068) before proceeding.

  • Document what you shred:  In order to ensure accountability, compliance with recordkeeping laws, and corporate memory regarding records disposition, we strongly encourage that individual program units use a records destruction log to document all formal  records destruction.  Please use or extend the University Archives and Records Center Destruction Log template for this purpose.  The authenticity of this log must be safeguarded, and each program unit should retain the destruction log indefinitely. [download Destruction Log template]
  • Establish a service point:  Contact Barbara Lewis in Business Services (x3068) to set up service.  You will need to work with Barbara Lewis to request a bin or bins from a vendor and to set up billing.  The vendor will supply the bins and will retain ownership of the bins.
    • Program units may want to consider coordinating shredding service at the departmental, divisional, building, or other level as appropriate in order to attain logistical efficiencies.  This is entirely up to individual offices/programs/departments to undertake.  Coordination should include consideration of both space/location and billing.
  • Request service: You must work with the vendor to establish an appropriate service schedule.
  • Pay for service:  Barbara Lewis in Business Services (x3068) will help you establish departmental billing for shredding service. Please confirm pricing with Barbara Lewis.


Rationale for discontinuation of UARC-provided confidential shredding

UARC had coordinated free confidential shredding to campus units since at least the 1980s.  Although this service was always provided as a courtesy, the decision to stop offering it was not made lightly.  The bottom line was that our core workload has increased substantially since 1980 (5 times the amount of records stored, 20 times the number of reference/retrieval requests compared with 1979), but our resources have not. 

In some cases, such as student labor hours, real resources are actually lower than they were decades ago.  For example, UARC student labor hours were actually 15% higher in fiscal year 1991 than in fiscal year 2010, yet the amount of confidential shredding service UARC provided for campus almost quadrupled in that period.  In that same period, all other workloads associated with transfer, storage, and retrieval of records more than doubled, and those related to shredding more than tripled.  

Technology and management have definitely gained us efficiencies in dealing with these increases, but in almost every category the increased workload represents a need for labor hours.   And to put this increased cost into budget perspective, the only dedicated funding for the UARC program, aside from a single FTE salary, is just over $2000 per year.  All additional money to fund the program must be siphoned from the budget of the Library, our parent organization, which takes away resources from one of Western’s most important academic assets. 

In looking at all the service areas of the UARC program, it was clear that the one service that could be turned back to program units with the least overall impact to the university was direct confidential shredding (which many departments already did on their own).   All other services provided by UARC are either related to our mandated stewardship of records in storage or assigned to us by law.