Destruction of Records

From Recordkeeping 101 we know there are two courses of actions with records:  archiving or destruction.  Upon completion of the Inventory Management Worksheet and review of the Record Schedule, you are now ready to either transfer records to the Archives or destroy them. 

This section provides guidance on the destruction of both records and Record Schedules.  

General Records Disposal

Records must be past the retention period in order to be considered for destruction.  There are two ways to dispose of records:  recycling or confidential destruction.  The method you use is determined by:

  • "Destroy" is noted on the Record Schedule AND if the record has been deemed confidential.
Confidential Destruction of General Records Recycling of General Records

Some records contain social security numbers, credit card numbers, medical information, or other personal and confidential information.  These records cannot be disposed of in the regular recycling or trash.  They must be shredded.  NEVER shred these records in a personal shredder.  

In the example below, the voting material records can be destroyed after the vote is tabulated + 1 year, but must be destroyed confidentially.   Confidential is marked as "yes".  This means they are destroyed through the tri-annual confidential destruction process initiated by the Records Officer (or designee). 

UWADM020 Voting Materials - Elections to Committees

Your part in the confidential destruction process is as follows: 
  1. Complete Confidential Records Disposal Request (CDF).

    You will receive a notice of an upcoming tri-annual confidential destruction date.  If you have records in your area that are past the retention period, AND are noted to be destroyed confidentially, fill out a Confidential Disposal Request.  Upon completion, obtain approval from your Department Head and forward to the Records Officer (or designee).  The request will be reviewed for final approval before you bring your records to the Mail Room on the designated date.  If you are unsure if your records can be confidentially destroyed, complete an assessment using the Inventory Management Worksheet from Recordkeeping 101 before completing a CDF.
  1. Receive outlook Calendar Appointment for the date you selected for confidential shredding.

    After submitting your CDF, you will be notified by email of the upcoming confidential destruction date and time.
  1. Take records to Lab Sciences Mail Room Delivery Dock.

    On the designated date and time of the confidential destruction, take your records to the Lab Sciences Mail Room Delivery Dock. These will be disposed of for you.  The Records Officer (or designee) will be available should questions arise.
    • You must stay with your records until they are loaded onto the shredder truck
    • DO NOT purchase new boxes for this process.  Records and boxes will be destroyed; it is recommended to make use of existing boxes in your area
    • You do not need to remove staples or paper clips
    • NO binders or hanging folders allowed

Only recycle general records if the asxsigned retention period has passed and the Record Schedule indicates the record is NOT a confidential record.  Recycle or dispose of records yourself after the specified retention period.  Place these records in your regular recycling or waste receptacle.

In the example below, the department training records can be destroyed at the end of Course or when no longer relevant to the Course.   They are not confidential, so the records may be recycled or disposed of by yourself in a waste receptacle.   

UWADM014 Unit Department Training

Urgent Records Disposal

If you have urgent records that need to be destroyed outside the tri-annual confidential destruction process, contact the Records Officer (or designee).  Fill out the Confidential Disposal Request, have it signed by your Department Head, and forward to the Records Officer (or designee).  

Record Schedules Disposal

Good news!  You are off the hook for implementing this process.  The Records Officer works with the State of Wisconsin Public Records Board quarterly to complete a review of Record Schedules that are set for expiration.  The Records Officer will coordinate with individual departments as necessary and work along with the State Records Management Analyst to facilitate this process.