(ANAHEIM, Oct. 5, 2010) – Orange County residents helped recycle more than 27 tons of paper documents at a free Shred-a-Thon this weekend hosted by the Automobile Club of Southern California and Experian’s ProtectMyID.com. Held to help raise awareness of and deter identity theft, the event collected documents weighing a total of 27.115 tons, or the equivalent of almost 461, 40-ft. Douglas Fir trees. All shredded material will be recycled into home insulation.
The event coincided with October’s National Crime Prevention Month and was held at Anaheim Stadium.
An estimated 1,600 Auto Club members and residents brought banker boxes and paper grocery bags filled with junk mail, old tax records and receipts and personal papers in 830 vehicles that contained names, birth dates, and account numbers, for free on-site shredding. More than 11 million Americans were victims of identity theft last year, a 37 percent increase from 2008, according to Javelin Strategy & Research, a California firm that studied identity theft threats.
The Javelin survey also showed that thieves stole $54 billion from identity theft victims of all ages and 18 to 24-year-olds who are active online were most at risk for ID theft.
"The community event highlighted the importance of destroying personal information properly, a critical step in guarding one’s identity, along with drawing attention to recycling,” said Denise Bialek, program manager of AAA Discounts.
Certified Cintas workers loaded documents into 64-gallon bins and dumped them into six trucks customized to shred large volumes of documents into pin-sized bits. Banker boxes and paper bags also were collected for shredding and recycling as well.
When combined with the earlier pilot program held in spring at the Auto Club’s Administrative Offices after tax season, the two events recycled 29.440 tons of paper and 501, 40-ft. Douglas Fir trees.