Recycling waste paper is something we do on a near-daily basis, but have you ever stopped to consider what happens to those leftover sheets after you’ve tossed them on the recycling pile?
After the bin men collect your waste paper, it’s taken to a recycling plant where it’s washed, sorted and soaked in water to create a sort of paper ‘slurry’. This pulp is then used to make new paper, and resold in 100% recycled form.
This paper recycling process works a treat, and ensures that fewer and fewer trees face the chop in the name of paper production. But is there a better, more efficient way to recycle paper? Yes — and it all rests with Epson’s new ‘PaperLab’.
Unveiled at the close of 2015, the Epson PaperLab is reputed to be the world’s first automated papermaking system. Set to launch in Japan in 2016, this in-office machine is capable of turning waste paper into new paper in just 3 minutes. Yes you heard right — brilliant white, recycled paper in just three minutes.
Within this remarkably short window, this state-of-the-art device can create 14 sheets of 100% recycled paper. That means, throughout a standard 8-hour work day, the PaperLab can produce 6,720 sheets of recycled paper — enough to keep your printer stocked for months.
The machine also allows you to adjust the thickness and size of the paper you want to produce. So whether you need some standard A4 printing paper or want to create your own business cards, you can do both from the comfort of your office.
But how does the technology work? Sadly, Epson hasn’t released many details surrounding this, leaving tech experts to speculate on what’s going on beneath the bonnet of this revolutionary new device.
One thing Epson has confirmed is that the PaperLab is the first machine of its type to use a ‘dry process’ to recycle the waste paper. This differs greatly from common paper production practices, which require vast quantities of water in order to create the pulp mentioned above. By contrast, the PaperLab needs just a cup or so of water to bind the new paper fibres together — making it considerably more efficient than standard recycling techniques.
The Epson PaperLab uses a simple fiberising and binding technique to create the fresh sheets of A4, a process which is assumedly aided by some kind of reusable solvent — though Epson hasn’t released details of this. In any case, the recycling process is faster than any other device on the planet, suggesting that the machine might feature new, heavily patented technology.
Unfortunately, aside from in Japan, there’s no telling when the PaperLab might become available for general sale. And even when it does, it’s likely to be eye-wateringly expensive — with experts speculating that such high-tech equipment will set businesses back a cool £50K. For on-the-spot recycling, however, we reckon that’s a small price to pay.
For those lacking in a spare £50,000, we stock a complete range of 100% recycled printer paper in a range of different weights. To find out more, visit our homepage or call us on 0845 365 3605.