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Farmington residents lined up Saturday to see their sensitive documents shredded. The shredded paper is turned to pulp and recycled.

Document destruction program has proved popular in Farmington

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Life Farmington,Minnesota 55024 http://www.farmingtonindependent.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/field/image/shredfest.jpg?itok=tkMEFgqT
Farmington Independent
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Document destruction program has proved popular in Farmington
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

At 10:05 a.m. Saturday, a long line of cars stretched out of the Farmington City Hall parking lot and down Spruce Street. Little by little, cars pulled forward as volunteers helped the drivers unload their sensitive documents.

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It was part of the annual Paper Shred Fest, co-sponsored by the Dakota County Library in Farmington and Castle Rock Bank, and it was a pretty popular event this year.

The shred fest has been a popular event since it first started four years ago, said Geraldine Jolley, from Castle Rock Bank. It began after former library branch manager Mary Scheide approached Castle Rock Bank and asked if the bank would like to partner on a paper shredding project.

The bank does its own shredding events several times a year, mostly for the benefit of its customers, Jolley said, so setting up the event was fairly easy to do. The first event was scheduled on the same weekend as Farmington’s Earth and Arbor Day events. It turned out to be perfect timing.

“We were surprised at the turnout the very first year,” Jolley said. “We do some shredding at the bank, but it was nothing like we got when we opened it up at the library.”

The shred fest was so successful that Jolley and Scheide agreed it should become an annual event. This year’s shred fest was held last Saturday morning.

A shredding truck comes to the library parking lot. Residents can bring papers and sensitive documents right to the truck, then watch, if they so please, as the documents are loaded into the shredder and destroyed. Afterward, the shredded material is taken back to a paper recycling location, where it is turned into pulp and used to make new paper-based materials.

“It’s reduce, recycle and reuse. That’s the beauty of it,” Jolley said. “As a community, we need to set a good example for that whole recycling philosophy. Farmington has a good reputation for what we do for recycling.”

Shredding sensitive documents is especially helpful in protecting residents from identity theft, which is another reason for the service, Jolley said.

The other benefit to the timing, she said, is that it’s just after tax season — a time when many people go through their more sensitive documents and often have paperwork they want shredded.

There was a slight hiccup in this year’s process. The driver of the shredding truck got lost on his way to Farmington. Volunteers at the library just kept unloading papers as residents came through, and made sure those documents were all disposed of during the shred fest.

“We just rose to the occasion and made sure that we guarded that paperwork. We worked pretty hard that morning,” Jolley said.

Volunteers estimated that about 250 vehicles came through the drop-off line this year.

The shred fest’s success guarantees it will be offered in the future. The starting time may change to 9 a.m. from 10 a.m.

“Obviously there is a community need for it. Look at the response we had,” Jolley said.

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Michelle Leonard
Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and is the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 
(651) 702-0974
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