The path to Jerry Scott's career began in Philadelphia at age 6, when he pulled his little red wagon around his neighborhood, collecting waste paper and bottles to sell at a nearby recycling center.

He was selling coffee and the equipment to make it after moving out west in 1980, when a Long Beach company he was pitching offered him a job buying waste products in bulk to resell to recycling operations.

Scott, now 52, parlayed the experience and years of waste management consulting into the creation of Wilmington-based All-Safe Destruction Inc., which offers a variety of product destruction and shredding services, in 1995. The company also makes house calls.

"I realized I didn't want to work for a large company because there was too much structure with too much management, so I started my own company. I have the entrepreneurial spirit. We offer a more personalized service.

"The single material we most destroy is paper. But we'll destroy everything from toys to clothes, CDs and defective products anything made out of plastic, leather, paper. I've got two industrial paper shredders. These machines are built to eat everything except heavy metals. After paper is shredded, it all goes to recycling. But most of the other material goes to landfills.

"In a year, we have maybe 500 different accounts. I have homeowners that bring stuff down to shred. I have a lot of corporate accounts. That's all confidential financial and personnel documents. We pick most of it up. I rent a 7,000-square-foot facility.

"I do government stuff but it's not the Department of Defense. To do that, you need a hammer mill a crusher-type machine that takes the paper and makes it almost look like a cross between cotton and dust when it comes out. You can't recycle it. Someone's got to come out and look at your machine and tell you it's DOD-approved. Then you've got to go out and bid on work. It's not worth it.

"We have jobs that run from $50 to $20,000, depending on the size of the amount of products to be destroyed. I can rent a shredder for them if they want to shred in their house. For me to come, it has to be 5,000 pounds or more.

"It's expensive to have a truck go out to the site. But a lot of customers watch for their own peace of mind. They want to make sure that the confidential documents are shredded."

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