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    Business plan

    Following the paper trail to (and from) Heritage Shredding

    Lisa Rainer of Swampscott shreds paper at Heritage Shredding. Behind her is Knicki Foss, director of shedding.
    Mark Lorenz for The Boston Globe
    Lisa Rainer of Swampscott shreds paper at Heritage Shredding. Behind her is Knicki Foss, director of shedding.

    Whether you have a small business that generates sensitive documents or you’re a homeowner cleaning out years of paper records, Heritage Shredding can help.

    “We originally started doing shredding as an activity for people to learn job skills, using our own paper products within Arc,’’ said Tim Brown, director of day services at Northeast Arc in Danvers.

    Arc provides programs and resources to help those with physical and mental challenges become participating members of the community.


    After starting the program five years ago, Arc developed a plan to make it a self-sustaining business. Since its implementation four years ago, it has grown 25 percent each year.

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    Because of that increase, the service recently moved from Peabody to a larger facility at 27 Garden St., Danvers.

    We talked with Brown, of Salem.

    Q. Employees?

    A. Twelve; six with disabilities and six without disabilities.

    Q. Clients?

    A. We have 427, mostly small businesses such as attorneys’ offices, medical offices, realtors, etc.

    Q. Services?


    A. For businesses, we provide bins of different sizes and free pickup and delivery and a certificate of destruction. We charge a flat fee of 40 cents a pound.

    Q. Personal clients?

    A. We can deliver bins to their home, and we have a walk-in service where they can come in with a grocery bag of paper and we shred it for them. That also costs 40 cents a pound.

    Q. Amounts of paper?

    A. On average, 25,000 to 30,000 pounds per month. Once shredded, we make half-ton bales and sell them to companies that pulverize the material and turn it back into paper products.

    Q. Other services?

    A. Recycling X-ray films from medical and dental offices. We were able to secure a company that melts the films and extracts the silver. We get a fee off that as well.

    Q. Growth?

    A. As laws changed, a lot of companies wanted to make sure there was no possibility of throwing away confidential information, so they shred all their paper.

    Q. Annual income?


    A. About $100,000. It goes back into employees’ salaries [$10 to $11.50 an hour], maintaining and operating the business.

    Q. Other benefits?

    A. The workers are earning steady paychecks, and have good relationships with their coworkers. It provides a strong sense of self-worth and independence.

    Wendy Killeen

    Wendy Killeen can be reached at