From: email@example.com (Michele Raymond)
Subject: JAPAN: World's First Zero Waste Paper Plant
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2003 17:31:53 -0500 (CDT)
This is the Recycling Policy NewsBriefs Email Bulletin for Raymond
Communications, Inc. College Park MD, publishers of State Recycling Laws
Update and Recycling Laws International. All material copyright 2003,
Raymond Communications; permission to forward with credit.
August 7, 2003
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Below please find a glimpse of Japan's "high-tech" recycling efforts -- a
new $150 million paper recycling plant. I toured it recently on my trip
World's First Zero Waste Paper Recycling Plant
Copyright 2003 Raymond Communications
By Michele Raymond
KAWASAKI, JAPAN -- An industrial-looking channel ending a small pond in
front of the new Corelex paper recycling plant in Kawasaki near Tokyo
Japan features several healthy gold fish.
Visitors are told right out: ?The smoke house (a small attractive round
wood structure) is used for parties the fish are living in the plant?s
Indeed, the $150 million Corelex plant, built with the help of
government loans, is the first ?zero waste? paper recycling plant in the
world, according to its developers.
Unlike many paper plants, which struggle over ?stickies? and
landfill growing mountains of sludge, this new plant can easily take all
manner of mixed paper, binders, paper with plastic clips, metal parts,
and aseptic poly-coated paper with no problem. The only waste product is
some ash, which is used for filler in a concrete product by another plant
The key, according to Tetra-Pak?s environmental engineer Robert
Kawaratani, is the system soaks the income paper for longer periods that
a standard hydra-pulper. In Japan, the government requires such plants
getting help to become educational labs, complete with classrooms and
tours for children of all ages.
The Corelex plant has a built in classroom, numerous colorful
brochures for children, as well as several videos that explain the whole
process. However, unlike many commercial plants with glassed-in areas,
visitors receive a genuine tour of the entire facility.
The baled material ranging from poly-coated cups from Tokyo
Disney to boxed confidential documents from big companies, are fed
directly into the pulper in a lump, then swelled while being matured to
facilitate ink separation.
The material goes into a large tower where it is soaked for 12-14
hours. A rake system at the bottom pulls pulp out of the tower, and
screens out contaminants. The equipment was designed by the San-Ei
The pulp is de-inked, sterilized, and bleached with hydrogen
peroxide. The sludge is passed through a screw press to squeeze out much
of the water, then burned in a boiler at 800-900 degrees C. The energy
from burning the sludge and the polyethylene from the aseptic material
create energy to help run the plant.
The material passed into a huge tissue maker, which runs a mile a
The plant can handle 250 tons per day but runs at 220 tons per
day, making 150 tons of toilet paper daily. It cannot get enough of the
higher quality aseptic feedstock, he says.
The rolls are case in plastic, then palletized by robots for
strorage. However, the product must be de-palletized and manually loaded
because they don?t fit onto Japan?s small delivery trucks.
The plant runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a staff of
Collection: Different than US
Unlike in the U.S., where there is almost no recycling of
consumer polycoated and polystyrene, Japanese grocery stores collect
these two materials, along with PET bottles, though they are only paid
for the polycoat material, Kawaratani explains. Consumer carefully rinse,
then disassemble the cartons so they lie flat. ?It?s easier to store them
tat way when you don?t have a lot of space,? he explains.
Based upon a voluntary agreement, PET bottles are all clear to
facilitate recycling, though they have shrink-wrap labels. Many bottles
are square to save space.
Each prefecture and local government collects differently, but
Kawaratani says there is no single-stream collection. He notes that
federal figures show that for fiscal year 2002, 30.63 million tons of
paper were consumed, and 20 million tons were collected for recovery.
About 62% of PS foam is collected, though about 25% is recycled
materially the balance going for feedstock recycling and energy recovery.
While federal figures indicate a 14% recycling rate, sources say
that when business recycling is counted, Japan is now sending about 30%
of its waste for recycling and recovery nationwide.
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