On-site paper recycling coming to an office near you

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On-site paper recycling coming to an office near you

We're guessing that it will be several years before this technology has been refined to the state where it is sufficiently compact and affordable for small businesses, but Epson has developed an on-site paper recycling machine called PaperLab.

The prototype measures 2.6 by 1.2 by 1.8 metres, excluding some protrusions, so it has been designed for outdoor use.

It works by reducing the used paper to thin fibres (thus solving the secure disposal issue), which are then mixed with binding agents to form new sheets of paper.

Different binding agents allow the production of paper with various strengths, colours, fragrances, flame resistance and so on.

Examples of finished papers include A4 or A3 office paper, and paper that can be used to produce business cards.

The production rate is approximately 14 A4 sheets a minute.

Epson is promoting the green aspects of the process.

It does away with the need to transport waste paper for recycling, and reduces deliveries of new paper.

No water is needed for recycling, whereas papermaking usually consumes about a cup of water per A4 page, according to the company.

The PaperLab prototype was demonstrated at the Eco-Products 2015 exhibition in Tokyo, and the finished product is expected to go on sale in Japan during 2016. There is no indication of when it will arrive in Australia, or the likely price.

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