An in-office paper recycling machine has been developed by printer company Epson. The printer giant calls its creation the PaperLab and it works as follows: put waste paper in, and bright new white paper spits out. Epson believes this process is much more efficient than trucking used paper to an off-site recycling facility, and it is also more secure. In fact, Epson touts that the PaperLab, which essentially disintegrates the paper into fibers before reassembling them back into new paper, is one of the most secure shredders in the world.
Within only three minutes of adding used paper to the PaperLab, it begins pumping out new, completely white sheets of paper. The PaperLab is capable of producing about 14 “A4” sheets of paper per 60 seconds (or 6,720 sheets in eight hours). The PaperLab can also produce papers with different brightnesses, qualities and thicknesses. It can even produce cardstock.
In order to make paper, a lot of water is typically required. However, the PaperLab requires only a tiny bit of water to “maintain a certain level of humidity inside the system.” Therefore it does not need to be connected into a plumbing source – just a small refillable water tank.
Epson has not yet provided many details about how the PaperLab actually works. But there does appear to be two key processes: fiberizing and binding.
Fiberization includes turning the used paper back into its long, thin fibers. Just how this is done is unknown, but it’s likely novel and most surely patented.
Binding is the second process and includes stitching the fibers back together into new paper. According to Epson, you can add different binders to the machine in order to create a variety of different types of papers.
As of now, Epson has not released the total cost of owning the PaperLab, but it will go on sale next year in Japan. Epson will demonstrate a prototype of the incredible machine next week at the Eco-Products conference in Tokyo.