Hundreds of Houstonians made an effort to keep their sensitive documents out of the hands of dumpster-diving thieves during Shred Day Houston.
"It is very common, so I don't throw anything away, " said Ruby Williams, who brought her documents to be shredded.
Local 2 teamed up with Comerica Bank and Iron Mountain Incorporated for Shred Day Houston, a free document shredding event designed not only to provide a free shredding service to residents, but to raise awareness about identity theft.
"I do have a shredder at home but it is so small, and it is just not going to do the trick, because you get so much junk mail," said Williams.
Junk mail is not the only problem. Identity thieves also get information from old documents.
"Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. It is really important for you to protect your information," said Denise Owens, who is on Comerica Bank's fraud investigation unit. "You should shred any document that has personal information on it -- your social security number, your driver's license number, your date of birth."
The process also helps the environment. All the paper shredded at the event will be recycled.
After Iron Mountain securely destroys the paper documents, the processed materials are transported to paper mills to be turned into pulp for recycled paper. This process reduces pollution, preserves landfill space and saves trees, water and even oil resources.
"My recommendation is anything that you cannot electronically reproduce, you should keep that. Anything that you can reproduce, you should shred that," said Owens.
A spokesperson from Comerica said the total vehicle count for Shred Day Houston was 1,757 cars. The official results were 103,568 pounds of paper shredded and recycled, with more than 7,276 pounds of food collected for the Houston Food Bank. HFB officials said that will provide 5,597 meals to children, adults and seniors. HFB also said that $6,842.70 in donations were made to the food bank during Shred Day.
Comerica and Iron Mountain currently hold The Guinness World Records honor for the most paper collected and shredded in a 24-hour period for 111,920 pounds at Shred Day DFW 2012.
Shred Day 2014 is already being planned.