Posted by Ellen

It all seems to be true, what the sign says. Destruction specialists meet you right at your car, and they are indeed prompt. They are helpful. Once they've loaded your papers into one of their wheeled carts, they put a put a lid on it, so that all your pre-destructed papers are protected from cameras, eyeballs, gusts of wind, you name it.

But do they really shred the stuff? Well, according to the company's website, you are welcome to come inside the destruction facility and watch for yourself as up to ten boxes of your papers get processed into little shreds.

The viewing isn't free, however; it'll cost you $30. They say the fee reflects costs incurred when the regular workflow is interrupted to do the destructive thing on your stuff right away. Also, inviting a viewer into the facility means that a destruction specialist will have to be pulled away from his or her scheduled destruction and reassigned to escort duty, to protect everybody else's stuff from your prying eyes.

The warehouse in the background of the photo is the home of Office Paper Systems, which contracts with Montgomery County, Maryland, to process mixed-paper recycling from homes and office buildings throughout the county. Added to this paper stream are the remains of the day after FreeSecureShredding's destruction specialists have done their destruction.

Eventually, all the paper, shredded and not, is sold to paper companies, which process it with chemicals, heat, chopping machines, and strainers before mixing it with fresh pulp to make new paper products.