how to dispose of old checks?

In this article, we discuss the various methods to dispose of old checks in an environmentally safe manner, as well as in a safe manner with regard to your personal security.

how to dispose of old checks?

You can dispose of old checks in the following manner:

  • Burn Old check books and Documents
  • Shredding check books at Home
  • Shredding check books Using a Shredding Service
  • Reducing Checks to Paper Pulp

Why It Is So Important To Destroy Old Checks?

One may be wondering why is it so important to get rid of old checks. Other than the fact that they accumulate space and gather dust on them, the other reason is based purely on security. We discuss these reasons below.

Destroy Checks To Prevent Identity Theft

Your personal checks contain data that might be exploited to steal your identity. Your name, address, bank, and account number are already printed on your checks. 

For the sake of convenience, you may have supplied your phone number and date of birth (but you shouldn’t).

This is the essential information that an identity thief need in order to register new accounts in your name or get access to existing ones. 

If you share the account with another individual and both of you have information written on the check, a possible identity thief has access to even more information.

Destroy Checks To Prevent Fraud Or Scams

A bad individual may use the information on your checks to convince you that they are a legitimate representative of your bank or other institution, similar to identity theft. 

Because they already have some private information, it may strengthen their case in order to get you to divulge more.

How to Destroy Old Checks and check books?

When destroying old papers, such as checks and check books, the purpose is to guarantee that the information contained in those documents cannot be recovered. 

It is rather easy for someone with malicious intent to sift through the trash and pick out a check book if you simply put them out in the garbage.

Even if you break them apart, putting them back together to extract the information is rather simple. Instead of taking a chance, consider one of the strategies below.

  • Burn Old check books and Documents
  • Shredding check books at Home
  • Shredding check books Using a Shredding Service
  • Reducing Checks to Paper Pulp

We shall discuss these methods in more detail below.

Burn Old check books and Documents

Burning your old check book ensures that an identity thief cannot obtain your information. Make sure each page is totally burnt, especially the parts containing your name, address, and account number.

You may burn them in your fireplace at home, but only one at a time. You do not want to put too much paper in the fireplace since it might blow into your living room.

If you wish to burn them outside, find out what limits and laws the city and county have on garbage burning. Always have a fire extinguisher and/or water handy, and take all necessary safety procedures.

Shredding check books at Home

Shredders can be purchased at a local store or online. Some shredders turn your documents into lengthy paper ribbons. These are generally the most affordable. They are effective, however it is not difficult to tape these strips back together in order to retrieve information.

For household shredding, a cross-cut shredder is a safer option. It shreds whatever you are shredding into tiny confetti-like pieces. This makes recovering any particular document from the trash considerably more difficult.

A home paper shredder costs around $25 and goes up depending on the features, the number of pages it can shred at once, and other factors. 

If you are on a budget, these paper shredding scissors are a good choice. They come for as little as $5 only.

Shredding check books Using a Shredding Service

If you have a considerable amount of material that needs to be destroyed, you might want to consider using a shredding service. 

These businesses often charge $1 per pound for their services and can handle minor metal objects such as paper clips and staples.

When you look for shredding services in your region, you will find that certain places, such as UPS stores, provide them. Staples and Office Depot, among others, provide the service at their business centres.

Other locations are dedicated to shredding and accept individual drop-offs. The damaged paper is usually sent to recycling services to be reused by shredding services.

Many firms have a shredding contract with a local provider. Check with your supervisor to see whether you may trash your personal documents with the rest of the company’s.

Reducing Checks to Paper Pulp

Another way to get rid of old checks and check books is to turn the paper they are printed on into pulp. This may be accomplished by soaking them in a variety of liquids. Be prepared to deal with this procedure for a few days if it takes that long.

Fill a bin halfway with water, vinegar, bleach, or carbonated soda (not all at once). Soak the documents you want to destroy in the water.

You will need to agitate them every day until the paper breaks down, at which point you may drain the liquid and discard the pulp.

Running paper checks through the washing machine is a faster way to destroy them. However, do not simply throw them in.

Get a canvas bag that zips tight and loosely stuff the checks inside. They will require a lot of space to jump about in.

Check to see if the bag is tightly zipped. If you do not want to wind up with paper pulp in your washer, use a safety pin to hold the zipper tightly sealed. 

Then, on hot, put the entire bag through the washing. The checks’ paper and ink will be ruined as a result.

What to do with paper pulp

You may use the paper pulp to manufacture fresh paper or add it to your compost bin or wormery if you are a do-it-yourselfer. If you go this approach, begin by heating the water and then adding the checks.

To speed up the process, stir it a few times a day and add extra hot water. You may use the pulp in your paper-making screens or add it to your compost pile or wormery once the paper has been broken down into pulp.

Which Checks Should I Keep and Which Should I Destroy?

Once you have reconciled your checks with your bank records for personal, ordinary spending, you can trash them, especially if your bank saves photographs of the checks.

Keep checks that are related to your business or that assist you in paying your taxes for 3-7 years.

After the deposit clears the bank, any checks you received as payment should be preserved for two weeks before being burned.

What Important Documents Should be Kept or Destroyed?

You will discover how much paper we go through keeping our financial records as you manage your family’s documentation. It is difficult to know which papers to save and how long to keep them.

Because of the risk of someone stealing your personal information, you should destroy old documents thoroughly whenever you dispose of them.

Bank statements should be kept for three to seven years. Because the IRS can seek an audit of a tax file up to 6 years later, it is a good idea to maintain all of this material together.

After 60 days, credit card statements may be discarded. You may usually challenge a charge for up to 60 days, so you will not need them for much longer. 

Keep your credit card statements for 3-7 years if you are using it for business or tax purposes. Other tax records, such as W-2 or 1099 forms, should be maintained for 3-7 years as well.

You should retain a few documents for the rest of your life. Keep all tax returns, legal records, and inheritance-related paperwork for the rest of your life.

Disposal of Electronic Checks

Checks placed using a mobile banking app must be disposed of just as carefully as old check books. They are just as vulnerable to con artists misusing your personal information.

To prevent abuse, most banks ask you to designate these cheques “deposited” or “void.” The checks should be labelled to prevent the scammers from cashing them again.

To avoid the danger, you can take an extra step and trash the check once it has been processed.

Electronic checks should be handled and disposed of with additional caution by businesses. Businesses frequently maintain copies of all types of financial records, including checks, on the internet.

For security, businesses should employ encrypted digital storage. Scammers will be unable to access the digital storage if it is encrypted.


Most individuals simply leave their old check books lying about and do not properly dispose of them. They quickly forget about them, oblivious to the danger they pose.

They can cause a lot of difficulty for the account holder if they get into the hands of a thief or fraudster.

Old check books that are no longer needed for taxation or other purposes should be shredded. If you are unsure about check book disposal choices, call your bank for assistance.

Most banks do not object to shredding their clients’ old check books. Individuals and corporations can benefit from the proper disposal of old check books. The procedure is not difficult nor lengthy.

It does, however, save you a lot of money and legal trouble.

Asking the Employer to Dispose of Unused Checkbooks

Most corporations are required to maintain their financial records for longer periods of time than individuals.

This is to keep the company’s tax records clean. Old check records should be kept for 3-7 years, according to the Internal Revenue Service and tax specialists. In most cases, however, there is no reason to maintain unused check books.

You may be required to maintain them as a record per business policy. You can, however, request a unique policy for old, unused checks from the company’s management.

Your idea is likely to be accepted by your boss. There is practically no value in maintaining them given the risk.

If the company’s management agrees, hiring a shredding service is the quickest option to get rid of a significant supply of checks.

A check book shredder is a good investment for a firm with a modest supply of outdated check books.

There is not much of a pricing difference between commercial and household shredders. As a result, you may choose the solution that best meets your company’s needs.


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