I have some documents that have sensitive information on them, which for obvious reasons I do not want others to get their hands on. How can I destroy these documents so that others cannot read them? I don't have access to a paper shredder, which is generally the recommended way of destroying them.
If you don't mind manual labour, you can tear it by hand.
Since tearing it by hand isn't perfect, you can cut out the important part and scatter it across different locations.
This will avoid people finding the jigsaw puzzle pieces!
Also, if you are really bored, you can compete with someone else (that you trust) to see who can tear the most number of papers at once
Take the papers to your local copy shop and let them shred it for you. This is probably the easiest way to take care of them.
For example, Fedex/Kinkos will shred documents for 99 cents per pound (around 100 sheets per pound depending on paper size and thickness).
Folding the paper onto it itself several times, then cutting the result as small as you can with strong scissors (nibbling away mm by mm), a carpet knife, bolt/ wire cutters, sandpaper/whetstone ... will give you a lot of cutting for a little :) I mention wire cutters because good wire cutters WILL cut paper too, and will probably survive a stack of paper better than average scissors :)
Has anyone suggested simply burying them? It would take a bit of effort to dig the hole, but the paper would biodegrade in no time. Alternatively, mix them in with garden waste and potato peelings and the like and it will all eventually become compost. Use that on your garden and nourish your plants with those unwanted reports and correspondence.
How to completely destroy sensitive paper documents—without shredding or burning.
You'll need an old pair of panty-hose with no holes in them. One pair of panty-hose will be enough for two "treatments." Cut off a leg of the panty-hose.
Put your documents into one leg of the panty-hose and knot it tightly closed.
Toss it into the washer. Put it through a wash cycle with some detergent.
Discard the wad of wet fibre residue without removing it from the 'bag.'
I have not yet found any personal information that survives this treatment.
I have thought of 2 solutions for this:
Burn the document. Use a match to ignite its edges (Be careful) and let it burn slowly (NOT in flames). The fire will slowly eat through the document. Burn it until the essential part of the document is gone, then put it out by blowing at it. For safety reasons, it may be best to do this above a bathtub filled with water. Also, be careful not to burn your hand.
Throw the document into water. After several minutes, it will be extremly soft and easy to rip. Just remove it from the water and rip it by hand into tens or hundreds of small paper pieces, easily.