Shred First: “King of Product Destruction”

When John Bauknight and partner Nick Wildrick founded Shred First, LLC in June 1997, they could not have imagined some of the unusual products they would end up destroying for customers.

“We started with a 30 Hp shredder,” John recalls. “By May 1999 our volume warranted adding an Allegheny 100 Hp. shredder. Then our business took an unexpected turn. We began working with customers who needed products destroyed, both for liability purposes and to prevent contraband. It was clear that our paper shredders couldn’t handle the destruction of TVs and computer monitors. That’s when we went to Allegheny and talked with them about what they could do for us.”

Working with John Wagner and his staff to determine specifications, Shred First purchased an Allegheny Product Destruction Shredder and began talking with customers in earnest about their destruction needs.

He has to laugh when describing the wide variety of products Shred First has destroyed over the past several years. These include TVs (outdated models), computer monitors (outdated), high-end athletic shoes (manufacturing defects), children’s apparel (manufacturing overage), pharmaceutical products (out of date), tampons (out of date), full-size electrical grills (recalled for manufacturing defects), excess CDs and DVDs, VHS tapes, cassette tapes and vinyl albums, and many others.

“Our Product Destruction Shredder can destroy 20,000 pounds of VHS tapes per hour,” John says. “Probably the most unusual job we’ve had involved over 500 tractor trailer loads of computer learning software. Newer versions of the software had come out, and the companies needed to destroy all prior versions. As the trailers came in, we had six men tossing the software into the shredder as fast as they could. The pieces fed into the auto-tie baler and we didn’t even have to stop. The floor was rumbling, but the shredder just kept going without a hitch.”

Shred First now has a total of ten destruction machines in its 36,000 square foot Spartanburg, South Carolina, facility. “When we reach the point of needing another Product Destruction Shredder—which could be soon—we’ll go back to Allegheny,” John says. “This has been a fantastic piece of equipment for us. We found that when you need something, John Wagner will put it on the drawing board and build it. He would have refunded the cost and taken the shredder back if we hadn’t been satisfied.

“Before it arrived, we wondered if it would handle the throughput. But we didn’t have to worry. He built us a tank.”

John Bauknight and Nick Wildrick
Shred First, LLC
Spartanburg, South Carolina