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California v. Greenwood: A Moving Force for Paper Shredding

by rubybadcoe

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Despite the risks of leaving sensitive information in the dumpster, many people continue to do it. The California v. Greenwood case should’ve been a lesson to every American not to leave any item of utmost sensitivity in the trash (though the case was hardly related to paper shredding). However, thanks to this case, nearly every American today is using paper shredders.

In 1984, Billy Greenwood was arrested on charges of felony after police found traces of drugs in the garbage bags Greenwood left for pickup. While the California Superior Court argued that the search was unlawful with the absence of a warrant, the state’s Supreme Court said otherwise. A 6-2 decision affirmed that garbage bags weren’t protected by the Fourth Amendment. In short, a dumpster won’t protect sensitive files from falling under the wrong hands.

For starters, you can’t expect garbage bins to be exclusive, seeing that they can be accessed by the public. As a matter of fact, the trash collector had access to the bags Greenwood used to dispose of the drugs. Because evidence of drug use was found in the bags, it was clear that the crime was visible to the public.

Now, how is a bag full of traces of drugs related to the disposal of sensitive files in the dumpster? Any form of trash you throw into the dumpster is no longer private and anyone can gain access to it, even animals. The dumpster is often the place where police fine many people due to failure to do paper shredding Los Angeles residents should be doing.

With this, there are three things you must take note of. First, disposal of pertinent documents must be done via paper shredding Los Angeles, done by a certified service. Second, the shredded documents don’t end up in the bin, but straight to the mill to be processed into paper. Lastly, don’t expect the Fourth Amendment to protect your bins from searches; the police could search them without a warrant.

If you want to know more about the California v. Greenwood case, go to and look it up. This controversial case will go down as the moving force behind the trend of paper shredding Los Angeles does even today.

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