Destruction of Records

From Recordkeeping 101 we know there are two courses of actions with records:  archiving or destruction.  Upon review of your records that match a record schedule from the Record Schedules List, you are now ready to either transfer records to the Archives or destroy them.  

This section provides guidance on the destruction of 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 destroy records:  recycling or confidential destruction.  The method you use is determined by the description on the record schedule.

  • Destroy descriptions allow you to recycle records
  • Destroy Confidentially or if PII is identified, require you to dispose of records using the Confidential Destruction Process 
Recycling of General Records
Only recycle general records if the assigned retention period has passed and the Record Schedule indicates the record is NOT a confidential record - OR - they are Disposable Records.  Recycle or dispose of records yourself after the specified retention period.  Place these records in your regular recycling or waste receptacle.
Confidential Destruction of 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.  

Your part in the confidential destruction process is as follows: 
1.  Confirm Records Ready for Disposal. Records that may be destroyed include:
  • CONVENIENCE COPIES that are no longer needed by the department, or
  • OFFICIAL RECORDS (paper, email, electronic) past their retention period date, and
  • The record has no pending record requests, audits, or lawsuits that would require retention, and
  • The Record Schedule Retention is: Destroy Confidentially
2.  Document Record Disposition:  Using a Confidential Disposal Form (CDF), document the records ready for disposal:  dates, approved record schedule number, description of records, retention period, retention disposal method, and if a record is an Original or Copy. 

Use the updated Record Schedules List to search for a record schedule (RDA) that matches the description of the document.  Example of CDF entry that must match one of the Record Schedules for retention and disposal:

3.  Obtain Departmental Approval.  Obtain approval signature from your Department Supervisor and email this form back to Records Management at  Once the records have been cnfirmed, you will be sent an Outlook calendar appointment as a placeholder with directions to bring your records to the Mail Room Loading Dock on the assigned day for collection.
4.  Prepare Records for Disposal.
Electronic Records:  If you are preparing disposal for electronic records, you may delete these records at this time (they will not be required to be disposed of in a box).
Paper Records:   You do not need to remove staples or paper clips before placing records in boxes.  DO NOT purchase new boxes for this process as they will be destroyed.  Binders or hanging folders are not allowed and should be removed before placing in the disposal box. 

5.  Bring Records to the Mail Room Loading Dock on Scheduled DateOn the designated date and time, 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.

Urgent Records Disposal

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

Disposal of Record Schedules

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.