Epson creates new paper out of office waste

Epson showcases PaperLab, creating new paper out of secure waste
Epson showcases PaperLab at CeBIT 2017

Epson is showcasing its PaperLab product at CeBIT. The company claims that this is the worlds first compact office papermaking system. It is being targeted at organisations who have a lot of secure paper waste to dispose of. Importantly, this is a dry process that means it can be deployed into office premises quickly.

PaperLab will first go into production in Japan this year. It will then be rolled out to other locations based on demand. It will be interesting to see how quickly those roll-outs are. There is an increasing demand for secure paper destruction services. Shredding is the most common approach but not always successful. There are systems out there which are capable of taking images of shredded waste and reconstructing the documents.

Recycling not always a reliable solution

Once shredded a lot of sensitive waste is then fed into the recycling process. However, this does not mean that it get recycled. There are increasing problems with the way recycling takes place. In some places there is so much paper waste that it is overwhelming the system. There are also concerns with the mixed quality of paper waste. Both of these lead to waste being dumped rather than recycled. Paper waste also needs transporting to where it is recycled which adds to its carbon footprint.

PaperLab offers something interesting to eco-conscious companies. They can now take all their paper waste, including sensitive material, and feed it into the PaperLab machine. It will then destroy the paper and generate new paper that can be used around the office. A company is then responsible for enforcing its own controls over how different paper products are disposed of.

PaperLab can deliver savings

There are also savings to be made here. There is no waste contract to pay for. Waste does not have to be trucked to a secondary facility for disposal. More importantly, the output is paper that can be reused around the office. This is a significant saving in both consumption by businesses and through the whole paper making process.

This will appeal to large enterprises, government bodies, educational establishment and even owners of conference venues. This could also appeal to office supplies companies. It provides them with a potential way to increase their revenue from customers by taking away paper waste. They can then turn that into new product and sell it back.

Epson claims that PaperLab will generate new paper within 3 minutes of waste paper being fed into it. It is capable of generating up to 14 sheets of A4 paper per minute and up to 6,720 sheets per day. That’s 13 reams of paper per day. If run every day for 50 weeks of the year it could generate around £7,000. Epson is not talking cost at the moment and it will need to be far less than £7,000 before it will be considered by many organisations. Users can produce a variety of types of paper to meet their needs, from A4 and A3 office paper of various thicknesses to paper for business cards, color paper and even scented paper.

A variety of different binders are added to the waste paper to get different effects. What isn’t clear is the level of quality of the produced paper.  There is an inference that it can be re-used in printers though.

Conclusion

Anything that improves recycling rates and lowers carbon footprint is to be welcome. Epson is targeting secure waste disposal as its first market. This is unlikely to be put off by cost. However, getting a wider take-up will require not only the price to be right by the running costs and maintenance to be fairly low.

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