120 innovations

Paper Shredder Recycles Paper

A vision for the future: no more sorting, paper separating, curbsidecollection. Just feed your business papers into the shredder, turn theMeiko SEED system on and overnight the used paper is recycled into aclean, fresh pile of 1500 new sheets of paper. The Meiko SEED paperrecycling system was introduced recently at the Eco Products 2008 convention in Japan. It sounds like the ultimate solution for paperrecycling. But what are the costs? Can point-source recycling competewith large scale collection and recycling on energy and environmentalimpact?

According to Bouncing Red Ball,an english language report on the new recycling system, the processconsists of two machines, similar in size and appearance to an ordinaryoffice photocopying system. The first part of the system, RPN-1500P,dissolves used paper into pulp. This achieves the perfect securitywhich offices today seek via cross-shredding. The second unit,RPM-1500S, receives the pulp slurry via pipe from the first unit andreconstructs, dries and cuts it into a perfect stack of A4 sheets. Onlytap water is needed for the process, no chemicals are added. Paper canbe recycled up to ten times without a degradation in quality.

The fully automated process can produce 1500 sheets of paper in tenhours, consuming 200 liters of water and 38 kWh of electricity. Howdoes this compete with virgin paper or traditional paper recycling?Before complicating the matter, let us look at the simple math.According to the Sustainibility calculator developed by German paper company Steinbeisin cooperation with the Institute for Research into Energy and theEnvironment, 1500 sheets of office paper have an environmentalfootprint as follows:

  • Virgin paper: 390.7 liters of water and 80.3 kWh of energy consumption;
  • Recycled paper: 153.4 liters of water and 31.4 kWh of energy consumed.

Source: treehugger.comAdded: 13 January 2009