When documents are scanned, the hard copy hasn't gone away - it is now Merlin's problem. It would not be feasible to store everything that was scanned indefinitely, so we offer customers a choice:
The first rather defeats the purpose of having the work scanned in the first place, and the second adds to the cost, often quite significantly. So the third option is far and away the most popular choice.
Time was when the less-reputable scanning bureaux would take the work en masse to the local landfill site and just dump them, but this is no longer an option.
The latest Data Protection rules render this a potentially dangerous and expensive mistake. The General Regulation for Data Protection, which came into force May 2018, provides for draconian penalties for both the customer and the bureau for privacy breaches, and unlike the old Data Protection Act, it covers hard-copy as well as computer records.
Merlin have always been mindful of data security and once documents are in our possession, unless option 1 or 2 is chosen, they never leave it in readable form. We keep the material for a minimum of a month to allow the customer to be satisfied that it has been properly scanned and thereafter we have a running contract with an on-site shredding company who come to our premises, reduce it to unreadable shreds and issue a destruction certificate.