If you attend one of the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District’s excellent Backyard Composting Seminars (2012 schedule), you ‘ll hear about a great way to destroy sensitive documents and protect your identity: shred the documents and put them into the compost pile.
Every backyard compost pile (or compost container) needs a proper balance of green and brown organic matter. A good ratio is 30% green (nitrogen-containing material: vegetables, fruits, flowers, coffee grounds, grass clippings, etc.) to 70% brown (carbon-based material: straw, wood chips, shredded paper, corn stalks, nut shells, etc.).
Once you shred your cancelled checks, credit card statements, and other sensitive documents, just add them to that lovely compost container in the back yard and let them decompose with the rest of your organic discards. Who’ll want to touch them after that?
And if you want to really discourage people from rooting through the pile, add some fresh horse manure. It’s available free to Cuyahoga County residents from the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds horse barns. For more information, check the Composting page on the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District website.