British Standard for Confidential Waste: What is BS EN 15173?

Shredded confidential waste

What is confidential waste?

Confidential waste refers to any waste your business may have that contains any private data, information, or documents. This covers documents that have any information about your customers, suppliers and even employees. Even digital elements such as hard drives come under the umbrella of confidential waste.

Every business will generate confidential waste. If you’re collecting customer data, such as phone numbers or financial information, you will need to dispose of this correctly to protect both your customers and your business.

What is the British Standard for Confidential Waste?

The British Standard for Confidential Waste, BS EN 15173:2009, provides an outline for how your business should destroy any confidential documents and materials. BS EN 15173 Secure Destruction of Confidential Material covers the entire waste management process. You will need to consider everything from the method of collection to the storage method. This standard goes alongside the ISO 9001 Quality Management System. This makes sure that your business is handling confidential waste in the most secure way whilst maintaining a quality service. Complying with this legislation ensures that you are complying with the Data Protection Act.

Shredded confidential waste
Shredded Confidential Waste

How does the Data Protection Act come into this?

The Data Protection Act ensures that businesses treat any personal information correctly. The Act is split into eight different principles. However, the seventh principle relates to confidential waste. It states that: “Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.”

For a business to comply with the seventh principle, they will need to ensure that any confidential waste is dispose of in the correct manner. This minimises the risk of any data breaches, ensuring the safety of their customer’s details.

How can you make sure you comply with the British Standard for Confidential Waste?

Making sure you comply with the British Standard for Confidential Waste can be simple. You’ll need to ensure that every stage of your confidential waste’s journey is secure. Once generated, you should store it in locked containers. It will need to stay in a locked container or vehicle on its route to the recycling facility too. These vehicles will need to be clearly marked to say that they contain confidential waste and need to reach the destruction facility as soon as possible.

The standard requires that the facility it goes to is secure and authorised to dispose of your confidential waste. The process needs to be carried out by trained personnel, using the right method for destruction. Once this has been done, the standard also specifies that the waste needs to be disposed of in an environmentally responsible method.

What happens if you don’t comply with the British Standard for Confidential Waste?

If your business is subject to a data leak from the mishandling of your confidential waste, there are lots of consequences that will cause damage to your business and its reputation. If you’re found to not be complying, you could face fines of up to £500,000 and even imprisonment of the person responsible. There could be serious damage to your business’ reputation too if it comes to light that your business isn’t handling sensitive data correctly.

Contact us

Does your business have confidential waste that needs to be destroyed? Flame UK provides a full range of confidential waste collection and disposal services to keep your business compliant and your data safe. Get in touch with one of our waste experts today to find out more about our confidential waste collection service.

We can improve your waste management and cut your costs.

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