Digital information may be replacing hard copies in most walks of life, but a paper recycling plant here has responded to this shift by dramatically improving industry recycling standards.
The state-of-the-art plant recently started operations in this central Japan city, which has a thriving paper industry thanks to Mount Fuji’s bountiful spring water. The plant is capable of processing “all sorts of paper,” such as wastepaper including plastic or metal components.
It has the capacity to process 200 tons of wastepaper and to output 1.3 million rolls of toilet paper and 150,000 boxes of tissue paper per day. It can process, for example, paper packs of alcoholic beverages with aluminum lining and tissue paper boxes with a plastic film around the opening.
These items are melted as a whole, and their metal and plastic components can be separated during the process. The metal parts are sold to dealers, whereas plastic components are used as fuel at the company’s own plants.
Corelex Shin-ei Mfg. Co., which built the plant, prides itself on its achievement of “zero emission” waste there.
The facility is drawing attention for the way it makes full use of all available resources at a time when the volume of wastepaper, being collected for recycling, has flattened off, as newspaper and magazine circulations are shrinking and documents are going paperless. The factory has also contributed to reducing the volume of wastepaper that is thrown away.
“The volume of wastepaper that can be used as raw material for recycled paper is shrinking, as documents are going paperless with the spread of personal and tablet computers,” said Hitoshi Sano, who heads the president’s office at Corelex Shin-ei. “We have decided to invest in the plant so we can make the most efficient use of all available resources, given that our country does not abound in natural resources.”
Corelex Shin-ei built the plant, which entered full operation in October, under an industry ministry subsidy and spent 12 billion yen ($106 million) on building it. The company is Japan’s leading manufacturer of recycled-content toilet paper and is based in Fuji. It is a subsidiary of Japan Pulp and Paper Co., a major Tokyo-based trading house, which specializes in paper.
The facility “is Japan’s leading, state-of-the-art plant, which can recycle wastepaper of poor quality,” said an official with the industry ministry’s Paper Industry, Consumer and Recreational Goods Division. “Everything, including plastic components, can be recycled there into resources. And the plant has a high production efficiency.”
Corelex Shin-ei has also been in the business of processing confidential documents for around 20 years.
Government and corporate offices typically send their confidential documents to incinerators when they reach their expiration date, because outsiders are not allowed to open the paper storage boxes to eliminate foreign substances of plastic or metal that are mixed among the documents.
Corelex Shin-ei has introduced technology for melting confidential documents as they remain in the storage boxes so they can be used as raw material for recycled paper. That technology has provided the basis for the operation of the new plant, company officials said.