Chattanooga Better Business Bureau hosted its bi-annual shred day on October 19 to help people protect themselves from identity theft by shredding confidential documents.

"It's always important to destroy anything that has social security numbers, bank account information, any of that type of information," Resource 1 Tier 3 Data Security President Chuck McDonald told Channel 3.

With identity theft at an all-time high, BBB President Jim Winsett says shredding is key to keeping your personal information private.

"Identity Theft is still the biggest issue in the market place today," he said.

That's why Chattanooga's BBB branch along with others across the nation host "shred day" for local consumers twice a year.

"The primary purpose is to help people protect against identity theft. It's so easy for that to occur," Winsett explained.

The first shred event was in April and the second on Saturday took place in the parking lot of the Lee Pointe shopping center.

Residents like Richard Kruse showed up ready to shred.

"Had plenty of papers to shred and thought this was a good opportunity to take advantage of what they're doing," Kruse told Channel 3.

Dozens of others were able to bring in sensitive documents and even old computers to be destroyed--all for free.

"We take the computer hard drives we shred them into 20 by 40 mm particles," McDonald said.

He says the best part is the process is environmentally friendly.

"We take the remaining boxes, the computers, the laptops and they're all recycled under full EPA compliance. Nothing winds up in a landfill from our process," he added.

The next shred day will take place in the spring of 2020. In the meantime, experts suggest that you avoid putting any sensitive paperwork in the trash.

Instead, purchase a home shredder. Those cost about $40. For bulkier items, there are several companies in Chattanooga that offer shredding services.

McDonald says if you missed Saturday's event, you can still bring items to their store on Vance Avenue and have a maximum of two hard drives shredded for free.