Leading Printing manufacturer Epson announced,” Company is developing an in-office paper recycling machine.”
The developing machine unveiled at Tokyo Big Sight December 10 to 12 “Eco- Products 2015”. Hopefully, we will see it this year in our office.
What is Paper Lab?
Paper Lab is world`s first paper recycling machine that doesn`t use water. It uses dry fiber technology to recycle old printed paper and gives the recycled new paper with increased whiteness.
All old methods of recycling paper are the wet method. That requires a huge volume of water. And a great deal of efforts for preparation and maintenance of the water processing equipment.
Through research, some of the innovators have found dry method but all are not as efficient as Epson`s Paper Lab.
You can install a “paper recycling system” on your office backyard now.
Understand the potential of this innovation: Before we dive in, there`s one thing you need to understand about the amount of paper we use.
A research says:
- U.S. publishing industries consume 16M tons of paper per year
- Every year 2 billion books are produced in U.S.
Book publishing industry alone is responsible for 32M fallen trees. Combining newspaper and book industries, the number of fallen trees surpasses 125 Million.
See this visual Infographic here.
Simply paper consumption data questions our efforts for a Green earth.
One way of makeup for the loss is promoting Digital products. But I don`t see Digital gadgets can take the place of papers completely (but it has taken up to some extent) anywhere in near future.
Realizing these facts is important to help you understanding the necessity of paper recycling system.
Further the old methods of recycling require a great effort and energy. Plus the volume of water the process consumes is not reasonable for our world where half of the population don`t have water to drink.
Traditional Method of Recycling waste paper
The old methods of recycling often start from collecting waste paper from home and office.
The collected papers are wrapped in tight bales at the recycling center and transported to a paper mill where it will be recycled into new paper.
In Paper mill the collected papers are stored in a warehouse until needed. When paper mill has sufficient stocks they moved waste paper using a conveyer belt to a big vat called pulper.
The pulper contains water and chemicals. Here the paper is chopped into tiny pieces and finally converted to fibers by heating the mixture.
After this the fiber is passed through various process:
- Screening: Process of removing small contaminants from pulp (fiber).
- Cleaning: An Intense process of removing contaminants where staples and lighter impurities are separated from the pulp by spinning the material in a cylinder.
- Deinking: To remove printed ink and “stickies” such as glue residue and adhesives.
- Refining, Bleaching and Color Stripping: These three process are for preparing the pulp for paper making.
- Papermaking: The last step where the pulp is finally transformed into new paper.
I didn`t summarize all this process for enhancing your general knowledge. My purpose is to show the amount of man effort and more importantly volume of water requires in this entire process.
Typically the waste paper is mixed with water from the time the chopping process starts. Then cleaning, deinking, refining, bleaching, and striping all requires huge amount of water.
When pulp reached to final stages it is 99.5% watery. It is said that recycling one ton of paper saves 26,000L of water than producing. But how much water we use in recycling?
A century ago, Van Winkle (1914) reported that paper mills required 400,000 gallons of water per ton of recycled paper.
Now things have changed a lot but still paper recycling is a water based industry. And we need thousands of gallons per ton yet today.
A dry fiber technology is going to change the direction of paper recycling industry.
Back in 2010 Oriental, Co. Ltd. Introduced White Goat, a machine that converts office paper into toilet paper. It takes 30 minutes and 40 sheets of A4 office paper to create one roll of toilet paper and was claimed to save 60 cedar trees annually.
EPSON`s PaperLab claims to be unique in its kind. This is a compact office papermaking machine capable of producing new paper with enhanced whiteness.
How is PaperLab going to change the industry?
As the leading company in the printing world, Epson had to deal with paper used for its printing products. Keeping this in mind PaperLab is set to change the paper cycle. Idea of this product is to give new value to paper and stimulate recycling.
- In-house office based system:With PaperLab in the backyard of office, the process involved with transporting the waste paper to papermaking facility is going to diminish. Now the paper making will be shorten and localize in the office itself.
- No more leakage of confidential documentsWith PaperLab onsite, company will not have to hire contractor for safely disposing the confidential documents. The machine will break down the documents into fiber before converting into new paper.
- PaperLab means less wastage of waterThis is why PaperLab is unique. Generally it takes a cup of water to produce a single A4 size sheet. As water is a precious Global resources this is going to revolutionized the paper recycling industry.
Unlike White Goat, PaperLab start producing new sheet in about the three minutes after you hit the START button. The system can produce about 14 A4 sheets per minute and 6,720 sheets in an eight-hour day.
Dry Fiber Technology
Epson is promoting its product as in-house as well as dry method of paper recycling. Something that we have not seen as efficient before.
What is this Dry Fiber Technology?
According to Seiko Epson dry fiber technology has three separate process:
Fiberizing: Process of converting waste paper into long, thin cottony, fibers. As PaperLab is not using water, no plumbing facility is required. In this process only confidential files will be destroyed completely.
Binding: Process of adding different binders to increase binding strength or to whiteness of paper or to add color, fragrance, frame resistance and other properties.
Forming: Last process of producing new paper sheets. You can produce sheets of A4 or A3 office paper and even paper for business cards. You can control the density, thickness and size of paper.
In this entire process only a small amount of water is used to maintain the humidity inside the system.