3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - Arizona’s Family Mega Shred-A-Thon sponsored by International Paper and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office started before sunrise and people already in line were eager to purge their old and unwanted documents.

[WATCH: 221 tons of paper shredded at Mega Shred-A-Thon in Phoenix]

Some folks even showed up on foot just to get rid of their documents.

But, the process was relatively quick thanks to volunteers from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and the International Paper Company who took out box after box, and bag after bag.

According to the Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, events like this are what helped Arizona fall from No. 1 in identity theft to No 8.

“There's greater awareness among Arizonans about what kind of documents could go into contributing to identity theft and then taking advantage of our Mega Shred-A-Thon,” said Montgomery.

By mid-morning, the International Paper Company said it had already accepted and shredded 100,000 pounds paper.

"I'm getting ready to move and just getting rid of some documents that have been sitting around awhile,” said Dean German.

Remember, these are sensitive documents that people had no idea how to dispose of properly.

People like Diane Ortiz-Parsons who discovered she had documents from nearly 40 years ago stored at her home.

"Believe or not, I went through the file cabinet, and I pulled out taxes from 1982. That was one year after we were first married,” Ortiz-Parsons said.

All the paper dropped off was wheeled inside, put on to a conveyor belt, and after being sent through a giant shredder, it was condensed into giant 1,200-pound paper bales. The bales will later be recycled and resold as paper products.

Those who showed up tell us the event was not only good for the environment but good for their peace of mind.

“How does it feel to get rid of some of that stuff?” asked Gary Harper.

“Liberating. Absolutely liberating,” said Ruben Briones.

An estimated 442,000 pounds of paper were shredded, which equals about 221 tons. That total beat last year's of 220 tons.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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