Shred-It Vs. Iron Mountain: Better Document Shredding Services

If you have confidential documents that need proper disposal, using a professional document shredding service is the safest way to ensure your sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Two popular shredding services for businesses are Shred-It and Iron Mountain.

But how do you choose between them? Here’s an in-depth look at the key differences, pros and cons of Shred-It and Iron Mountain to help you decide.

A Brief Comparison Table

CategoryShred-ItIron Mountain
Shredding MethodLevel 3 cross-cut shredding, 1mm x 4mm particlesLevel 2 cross-cut shredding, 2mm x 15mm particles
On-site/Off-site ShreddingOn-site mobile shreddingOff-site shredding facility
Scheduling FlexibilityCustomizable frequency, real-time driver tracking, on-demand service availableSet weekly/monthly/quarterly plans, 1-2 weeks notice required
Items AcceptedPaper, hard drives, electronics, ID badges, food, etc.Paper documents and digital media only
PricingSlightly higher base rates but more discounts offeredFixed lower rates typically
Customer ServiceQuick response times and issue resolutionSlower and more inconsistent service
Environmental PracticesEnergy-efficient shredding vehicles, recycled paper wasteCarbon-neutral shredding services available

Overview Of Shred-It And Iron Mountain


Founded in 1988, Shred-it is a global company that provides document shredding services to over 400,000 customers worldwide. They offer various shredding plans from one-time purges to regular scheduled service. Shred-It shreds paper documents as well as hard drives, phones, credit cards and more.

Iron Mountain is an information management services company founded in 1951. In addition to document shredding, they also provide data backup and storage services. Iron Mountain acquired Shred-It in 2011 but still operates it as a separate brand. They serve over 220,000 customers globally.

While both companies offer secure document destruction services, there are some key differences between Shred-It and Iron Mountain when it comes to their shredding operations.

Shred-It And Iron Mountain: In-Depth Comparison Of Key Features

  • Shredding Methods and Security
Iron Mountain
Iron Mountain

One of the most important factors when choosing a shredding service is how they destroy documents. Both Shred-It and Iron Mountain use cross-cut shredding that turns paper into confetti-like pieces. However, Shred-It uses more advanced Level 3 shredding which creates smaller 1mm x 4mm particles compared to Iron Mountain’s Level 2 shredding of 2mm x 15mm particles. The smaller the shred size, the more secure it is.

In addition, Shred-It shreds documents on-site with mobile shredding trucks while Iron Mountain may transport documents to a central facility for shredding. On-site shredding is more secure as it eliminates the chain of custody risk.

Both services provide chain-of-custody forms and certificates of destruction for added accountability. Overall, Shred-It appears to have a slight edge when it comes to security during the shredding process.

  • Scheduling and flexibility

Shred-It and Iron Mountain both allow you to schedule one-time or recurring shredding services. Shred-It offers more flexible scheduling with real-time tracking of your scheduled driver. You can request on-demand service within 2 hours for an additional rush fee. Iron Mountain has set service windows and requires 1-2 weeks notice for one-time shredding requests.

For regular service, Shred-It allows you to select a more customized frequency such as weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly. Iron Mountain has standard weekly, monthly or quarterly plans to choose from.

So Shred-It generally provides faster and more flexible scheduling options compared to Iron Mountain.

  • Items accepted

Both Shred-It and Iron Mountain shred all paper documents, files, notes, hard drives, disks, smartphones, tablets and any form of digital media.

Shred-It can also shred non-paper items like food, beverages, electronics, uniforms, ID badges, medical waste and more. Iron Mountain only focuses on documents and media for shredding.

So if you need to securely dispose of other types of items beyond just paper, Shred-It has better capabilities to handle this.

  • Pricing

Shred-It and Iron Mountain both have online pricing estimators so you can get quotes tailored to your needs. Pricing depends on factors like your location, volume of shredding, frequency of service, and any add-ons like hard drive destruction.

In general, Shred-It may have slightly higher base rates but offers more discounts for new customers and those who sign annual contracts. Iron Mountain pricing is pretty fixed.

For example, basic paper shredding service costs around $75-100 per 96-gallon bin for Shred-It versus a flat rate of $85 per bin for Iron Mountain. However, Shred-It customers can get 20-50% off their first month.

When it comes to one-time shredding jobs, Shred-It has a lower minimum charge of $29 compared to Iron Mountain’s $60 base rate.

So while pricing is competitive, Shred-It offers more opportunities to save, especially when you first sign up.

  • Customer Service

Both Shred-it and Iron Mountain aim to provide quality customer service to clients. However, Shred-It gets slightly better reviews when it comes to responsiveness and problem resolution. As a smaller company, they may be able to provide more personalized service compared to the larger Iron Mountain organization.

Shred-It also has a 100% satisfaction guarantee, promising to address any complaints quickly. Iron Mountain does not appear to offer the same guarantee.

So if responsive customer service is a priority, then Shred-It may be the preferable option.

  • Environmental Commitment

For environmentally-conscious consumers, Iron Mountain may have an edge over Shred-it when it comes to “green” practices. Iron Mountain offers carbon-neutral shredding services to offset the environmental impact of the shredding process through carbon credits.

Shred-It does not promote carbon-neutral shredding, but they do utilize energy-efficient shredding vehicles and recycle shredded paper waste. However, Iron Mountain is dedicated to more comprehensive environmental sustainability programs across their entire business.

So if minimizing your ecological footprint is important, Iron Mountain’s carbon-neutral shredding services make them a stand-out choice.

Also Read: Differences Between Uline And Global Industrial.

Key Differences Summary

To recap the key differences:

  • Shred-It offers more advanced Level 3 cross-cut shredding compared to Iron Mountain’s Level 2 shredding for added security.
  • Shred-It provides faster, more flexible scheduling and on-demand shredding options.
  • Shred-It can shred a wider variety of items beyond just paper documents and media.
  • Shred-It pricing may be slightly higher but offers more discounts.
  • Shred-It gets better reviews for customer service responsiveness.
  • Iron Mountain has more environmental sustainability initiatives like carbon-neutral shredding.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Shred-it the same as Iron Mountain?

No, Shred-It and Iron Mountain are two different document shredding companies. Iron Mountain acquired Shred-It in 2011 but still operates it as a separate brand. They have distinct shredding operations, policies, and service offerings.

Is Iron Mountain safe for shredding?

Yes, Iron Mountain is a secure shredding service that uses cross-cut shredders to turn paper documents into small particles. However, Shred-It employs more advanced shredders that create smaller 1mm x 4mm bits versus Iron Mountain’s 2mm x 15mm size. The smaller shred size of Shred-It makes it slightly more secure.

Who are the competitors of Shred-it?

Some top competitors of Shred-it for document shredding services include Iron Mountain, ProShred, Restore Datashred, Secured Document Shredding, Shred Nations, and Cintas. However, Shred-It remains an industry leader in the shredding space in terms of security, flexibility, and customer service.

What is better than a shredder?

Professional shredding services like Shred-It and Iron Mountain are better than personal paper shredders for securely destroying confidential documents.
Using a mobile or off-site shredding service eliminates the risk of improper disposal of sensitive data. They shred items into smaller particles and provide certificates of destruction for accountability.

The Verdict

While both services will safely and securely shred your documents, Shred-It emerges as the winner when comparing overall features due to their greater security protection, flexibility, broader services, competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

The only potential advantage of Iron Mountain is if you specifically want carbon-neutral shredding for environmental reasons. For most other users, Shred-It is the preferable choice for document and media shredding needs of all types and sizes. Their advanced shredding methods, customizable service schedule, ability to shred non-paper items, generous discounts and responsive customer support make them a trusted shredding partner.

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