Kimihiro Nozawa, the head of technology research at Oriental, was determined to reinvent the paper shredder. The project took him 15 years to complete, but eventually, Nozawa created the world’s smallest paper recycling machine.
“We were the first company in Japan to develop and produce paper shredders,” Nozawa said. “But most shredded paper is simply incinerated. Incinerating paper costs money and emits co2 in the process. I thought there must be a better way.”
The White Goat Paper Recycler takes shredded office paper and converts it into toilet rolls in just 30 minutes. Workers load shredded paper scraps in one end, press start and wait for a roll to eject from the other end.
First, the paper shreds drop into water. Then, the paper spins until it breaks down into a thin mixture. The machine spreads the liquid into a flat sheet, which is then dried. Once hardened, the machine winds the paper into toilet paper rolls.
Nozawa developed the prototype of the recycler using a washing machine. He even perfected the ratio of water to liquid and the duration cycle with the household equipment. At first, the recycler made regular paper but Nozawa was determined to make it thinner to create toilet tissue.
A significant hurdle was keeping the machine small. The first blueprint was a discouraging 20 meters long. Things took a turn for the better when Nozawa collaborated with a professor at Gunma University.
Professor Kikuoa Nezu provided insight to adjust the proportion of water and paper, so Nozawa was then able to simplify the papermaking process. To shrink the size of the machine, he eliminated bleaching and recirculated the water.
Today, the small paper recycler only requires shredded paper, water and 100 volts of electricity.
“People told me that I was crazy. That it wouldn’t work,” Nozawa said. “But I pulled it off.”
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