Earth Day was held on April 22, as designated by the United Nations. Started in 1970 and now celebrated now in over 175 countries, the day is set aside promote awareness of how our actions affect the environment. One of the key ways in which we help reduce our environmental impact is by recycling. Less energy is used in re-processing existing material than in creating new products from raw material. Equally important, less material is sent to overflowing landfills. Recycling programs have grown dramatically and it is now common to find recycling bins next to trash cans and marked for metal, plastic, and of course paper.
At the same time, businesses are being faced with increased pressure from both government regulations and customer privacy concerns to be more responsible with confidential information. This includes information such as medical records, credit card data, and even purchasing history. When this information is committed to paper, the paper can no longer be added to an existing recycling program. Doing so would risk privacy violations and expose the company to customer loss or even costly litigation.
It is the intersection of these two trends—the drive toward eco-friendly business practices and the obligation to meet regulatory demands—that creates a challenge to meet not only compliance with regard to information privacy, but also compliance with eco-friendly policies and legislation.
People know Iron Mountain as a trusted partner in the management and destruction of confidential information , but not everyone knows that we are also a leader in environmental practices that are helping our customers meet their own sustainability targets. Becoming compliant with data security requirements can actually be part of a program to become green compliant. In fact, Iron Mountain was even invited to speak at some of our customers’ Earth Day events to explain how we are helping them to “go green.”
At Iron Mountain, behaving in an eco-friendly manner is core to our business practices and it’s something that we factor into all of our own decisions. In addition to turning shredded paper into pulp, we also destroy magnetic media in waste-to-energy conversion plants. We even recycle over 1,500 tons of X-Ray film each year, extracting the component chemicals for re-use in manufacturing. Less material is sent to landfills, and more material is sent to factories for re-use. It’s good for business, and it’s good for the environment.