I believe I have developed an alternative to buying a paper shredder. This will not apply to midsized or larger businesses, but it has worked for me personally, so it may be an option for other people as well.
We've all heard the buzz about identity theft, right? The idea is, if you throw away/recycle an old bill or other document w/ your name & other identifying info on it, someone could possibly pick it out of whatever receptacle you put it in, then apply for loans w/ it, thereby getting you into all sorts of trouble.
Conventional solution: Buy an electric shredder, or if you work for a company that has one, use that. A shredder cuts paper into disorganized strips of paper that no one could use to read & identify you w/o a lot of trouble.
My 1st solution: tear them all by hand. This is more eco-friendly than buying a shredder of your own, & a lot cheaper too. The problem is, this is painstakingly slow if you are tearing up more than a couple of sheets.
2nd solution: Take a handful of documents that could leave you open to identity theft, put them in a pail/bucket. Add 3- 5 in. (8- 13 cm.) water -- enough to cover. Let them soak thoroughly. I let them soak overnight, since I have other things to do anyway. They will then be so flimsy that you can easily tear them to shreds. It helps to tear several unrelated pieces of paper at a time, so that, if anyone were to try to piece them back together, it would be fruitless. The paper shreds can then go into the recycling bin.
The water (especially if you keep re-using the same water for successive handfuls of paper) will eventually have microscopic bits of paper dissolved in it. Hopefully this will not compromise the sewage system when you discard it.
Oh, & if this is an idea that someone has already developed, that's great. I just thought that would share it, if that were not the case.