Office-Bound Epson PaperLab Recycles Waste Paper Into Clean Sheets At 14 PPM

If your office participates in a recycling program, it probably entails tossing used paper in a specially marked bin, which then gets picked up separate from the garbage and shipped out to a recycling plant where it's eventually re-purposed into paper again. It's a system that works, but Epson is looking to streamline the process with what it says is the world's first office paper making system, the PaperLab.

The relatively compact setup (compared to a full fledged recycling plant) looks like a giant copying machine, but it's actually a contraption that securely shreds used paper and recycles it as new paper sheets, and does it without the use of water (no plumbing needed). Depending on the needs of the business or government office using the PaperLab, it can spit out standard size A4 sheets, business cards, colored paper, scented paper, and so forth.

Epson PaperLab

According to Epson, it ordinarily takes about a cup of water to make a single sheet of A4 paper. But "given that water is a precious global resource, Epson felt a dry process was needed," hence the PaperLab.

What the PaperLab does is shred documents and break them down into paper fibers -- no amount of tape is going to bring those shredded bits back to life. Using an unexplained "original mechanism," Espon says waste paper is transformed into long, thin cottony fibers.

"This process immediately and completely destroys confidential documents," Epson says.

From there, a variety of different binders can be added to fiberized material to make the resulting paper sheets stronger, whiter, scented, or even flame resistant. As for speed, it  can spit out 14 A4 sheets per minute, or 6,720 sheets in an eight-hour day.

Epson will be showing off a prototype of its PaperLab at the Eco-Products 2015 convention in Tokyo later this month. It plans to start commercially producing finalized PaperLabs in Japan next year.