Card Printing Tips & Advice

Beginners Guide to Used Card Printer Ribbon Data (Part Two)


In Part One of this series, we explained what used card printer ribbon data is and why this is a risk to your company. If you haven’t read part one, we advise you do so before continuing with the below.

Part two goes a little bit deeper as we discuss the current ways businesses and organisations dispose of used card printer ribbons and why each method needs to be carefully addressed.

Current Methods

The two main methods currently being used for the disposal of used printer ribbons are:

  • Putting them into a standard waste bin
  • Using a 3rd party confidential waste service

1. Waste Bin

If you throw your used ribbons straight into the bin, you need to stop now.

As shown in our video in part one, you are putting both employees and yourself at risk, as that data is now freely accessible to the public eye.

The risk involved here, is once it leaves your workplace, do you know where it goes? Who sees this? What do they do with it?

2. Confidential Waste Service

One of the most common ways to dispose of used printer ribbons is using a 3rd party confidential waste service.

These companies pick up any data you need destroying, including printer ribbons and plastic cards, and take them off to a secure location to be destroyed.

Taking action and using a 3rd party servic is great, but unfortunately, there are still a number of negatives to this which we’ve listed below.

Waste bin or confidential waste collection service truck.

Negatives of using a confidential waste service

For a long time, using a 3rd party disposal service was the most efficient way to get rid of used printer ribbons. But due to the release of the IDP Smart BIT Shredder, this has caused us to take a look at how effective it actually is.

Data in Transit & Destroyed Off-Site

Firstly, data is collected by the waste disposal service and destroyed off-site. This means the sensitive information is still fully intact in transit.

If anything happens on the journey to the site, there could be a data breach which you have no control over. There could even be a data breach at the waste service location, and you are reliant on the 3rd party being transparent and making you aware of this.


Although the data is taken to be destroyed, it is not entirely secure up until that point. The sensitive data on the ribbons is easily accessible by all.

It’s inevitable that mistakes will be made from time-to-time, but is the risk just too great?

Expense, Cost & Organisation

Using a confidential waste service, it is a constant expense that adds up quickly and takes time to organise each month.

The cost for several months service would easily equal the same amount as a Smart BIT ribbon shredder.

Are you making the wisest choice?


The company you use may give you proof of evidence of the destruction, but how can you be sure that these are your ribbons?

By using a 3rd party service, there is no certainty to what happens to these ribbons and whether they are fully disposed of.

You are letting somebody else be in control of your organisation’s security.

Collection Times

When outsourcing to a 3rd party disposal service, the company usually comes once a month to collect the used ribbons.

But for organisations with a higher printing usage, there will be multiple used ribbons that need to be destroyed by the time they are picked up. These ribbons could even be waiting weeks for collection. This can be a big risk to have in-tact ribbons waiting on-site for anyone to see.

The choice is yours, but is this enough to keep you in a job if the data was the source of a security breach within your organisation?

Although there are many positives to using a 3rd party disposal service, it has now become outdated.

Due to GDPR regulations, you must also be extremely careful about which company you use and make sure they have clear, legitimate policies in place.

Don’t worry we practice what we preach.

Click here to see how we handle GDPR in-house.

If you are using one of the methods above, it might be time for a re-think.

Part three of this series will show you how to protect and destroy used ID card printer ribbons instantly using the latest must-have ID card products

Adam Bennet
Adam has been the Digital Marketing Manager here at Digital ID since 2015. Adam is in charge of the content creation and promotion on our blog and has been featured on sites like Entrepreneur, Talk-Business and Brighter Business to name a few. See what he gets up to in the office by following him on Twitter @adamjbenno.

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