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Before the digital age, microfiche allowed libraries and other organizations to store large quantities of data in a small space. These miniaturized photocopies come in the form of transparent plastic strips, usually 4 by 6 inches, that can be viewed only with a special microfilm reader. The type of microfiche, the quantity of the material and the confidentiality of the data all have a major effect on the disposal methods.
Check the color of your microfiche to determine what type of material you're dealing with. Micofiche with a white image on a blue background is vesicular film and is not recyclable. Silver-colored microfiche, made of silver halide, is usually recyclable. Silver microfiche may be hazardous; do not put it in the garbage.
Shred small quantities of vesicular microfiche using a medium-duty office shredder. This may be necessary for microfiche that contains medical records, security data or other sensitive information. Place the shreds in the trash bin. If the microfiche doesn't contain sensitive info, simply dispose of it in the trash can. Put plastic film containers in the proper recycling bin, disposing only of the film itself.
Contact an expert to dispose of silver microfiche. Silver recycling vendors will accept large quantities of microfiche. X-ray film recyclers often have the necessary means to dispose of silver microfiche, as do companies that specialize in the destruction of confidential documents. Major chain companies such as Shred-it have location finders on their websites; companies such as Shred Nations accept documents by mail. Most major cities have local shredders; contact the nearest shredder and ask if they have microfiche disposal capabilities. Outsourcing the disposal assures that the microfiche will be properly recycled, if possible, and disposed of in a confidential manner.
Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.