World’s First Office Papermaker Could Help Businesses Recycle


As a small business owner, chances are you use a lot of paper.

According to an infographic from PaperKarma and Catalog Spree, the average office worker in the U.S. uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year and paper waste makes up around 27 percent municipal waste.    

Your small business may make an effort to recycle as much paper waste as possible. But one company has developed a machine that could take your recycling efforts to a whole new level.

Called PaperLab, the machine comes from Japanese company Epson Corporation. PaperLab is a compact office papermaking system that is looking to localize the paper recycling process.

Typically, paper waste is sent out from the office to be collected for recycling, then transported to a recycling center, then processed and finally transported again to be sold. With PaperLab, Epson claims this process can all be done in your office, cutting down on further waste and expense.

Epson claims their papermaker machine can take waste paper to produce new paper in a variety of sizes, thicknesses, colors and even smells. You know, if scented paper is the kind of thing your business uses.

The papermaker  machine can be placed in the backyard area of your office, or possibly some other unobtrusive place. Though the company made no mention of it in its announcement, it’s possible the paper making process is not a quiet one.

Paper waste is loaded into the machine and the company says the first sheet of new paper is produced in around three minutes.

From there the company claims PaperLab can produce around 14 sheets of standard office paper a minute and around 6,720 sheets in an eight hour workday. That’s a lot of recycled paper.

To make things even more environmentally and economically friendly, PaperLab supposedly does not use water in its recycling process. This makes it so no plumbing is needed to install the machine. Instead PaperLab uses what Epson calls “dry fiber technology.”

The company did not explain exactly how this dry process works. Supposedly waste paper is somehow broken down into long, thin, cottony fibers that are then bound and formed into the desired type of paper.

There are apparently a number of different “binders” that can be used depending on the kind of paper you are trying to produce, but none were mentioned specifically.

Epson plans to demo their prototype at Eco-Products 2015 held in Tokyo. It may be a while before any marketable version makes it’s way overseas. The company does plan to start production for PaperLab sometime in 2016 in Japan.

Whether your business eventually purchases this technology or other businesses provide it as a service, this papermaker could totally change the way businesses take care of their paper waste.

Image: Epson

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Tabby McFarland Tabby McFarland is a staff writer and web researcher for Small Business Trends. As a staff writer she specializes in social media, technology, special interest features, and e-commerce. A geek at heart, Tabby loves to be online interacting with the blogging community. Tabby is a WAHM (work at home mom) and is also an avid Pinterest enthusiast with a strong sense of style and creativity.

6 Reactions
  1. I think it is very important to recycle. With all of the papers that offices are using on a frequent basis, I think that recycling should be a part of a regular office system – not only for efficiency but also for environmental purposes.

  2. Interesting. So that means that you can have something in your office that recycles the paper for you. Way better than shredding.

  3. I love that there are more and more products now that shows concern for the environment. It is about time too.

  4. Wow what amazing technology. And I don’t think majority business people know about this machine. I recommend the companies which in-touch with me to purchase this.

  5. I’d like to learn more about the process and the paper that is created. Taking paper back down to a pulp form and binding it back together is not an easy process. You have to consider the variety of toner and inks that may be on the sheet. In the 80’s recycled paper was a huge push until end users found that is looked like newsprint (which makes reading a printed document more difficult) and it was more expensive that new paper. Also, consideration needs to be given to how the newly created paper will print in laser and inkjet printers. A fourdrinier papermaking machine starts with 95% water mixed pulp and has a long series of processes including high heat and calendaring rollers to provide a printable finish. And it runs about 2000 ft/min.
    I agree, recycling is a good thing, however, I really question if it can or should be done as an onsite project.
    It will be interesting to learn more of the details of the process and see the final product.

  6. You would also have to imagine that the cost of the machine + electrical + the binders would probably outweigh what a typical sheet of paper would cost to purchase, even one with recycled content. It’s kind of like generating your own power from a windmill, while it sounds cool it typically is not cost effective in the long run compared to buying from an electric company who produces power for millions of customers. Don’t get me wrong, I think recycling is a good thing, in fact, we recycle tons of waste paper at the company I own, but as is the case with most things, the idea may be solid, but the costs are just to high for the average early adopter to make sense.