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Poop: the New Alternative Paper Source?

| Friday April 13th, 2012 | 2 Comments

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An Israeli entrepreneur has come up with a plan to make paper from human waste. This might sound unsavory, but Rafael Aharon sees an untapped business with plenty of potential.

Aharon is the CEO of Applied Clean Tech (ACT), a sewage recycling company. Their system is an “integrated solution combining reduced sludge formation for municipal waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) with recycling of waste water bio-solids.”

Their technology basically extracts (rather than digests) solids from sewage, turning the cellulose found in toilet paper and fecal matter into clean recycled paper. The paper can then be used for a variety of purposes. In fact in Israel, over the last two years, paper created from sewage has been used in a variety of products including envelopes without complaint.

Aharon says that sewage is actually a new source of paper. It’s “a real good source if you collect it from the point we do, the point before the biological processes of the wastewater treatment plant destroy it.”

Although this has an obvious ick-factor for many people, Aharon says that the method is very sanitary.

Aharon believes that this untapped source of paper is a goldmine. With the amount of trees that are dwindling, such paper can easily be used for single-use packaging like shipping boxes and even food packing like egg-carton and fruit boxes.

ACT is in negotiations with waste water treatment facilities in the US and Europe to collect their sludge for paper recovery. This will drastically reduce the number of virgin trees cut down. While this technology is novel and brimming with potential, unless it is sensitively marketed, it may not catch on at all.

According to their website, the company’s  proprietary bio-solids recycling process produces more than just paper. The recycling process creates a variety of renewable energy products under the brand name Recyllose. These include combustibles for power plants, feedstock for cellulosic ethanol production and pulp products for the paper industry.

The same ick-factor existed when elephant poo paper first came out and now it is all a rage, and is seen as an artistic alternative to normal paper. Honestly, if you look at it and even smell it, it is no different from other kinds of paper. How different is human poo from elephant poo? It’s all a matter of perspective.


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  • Shi**y Deal

    Still suffers from the problem of all combined municipal sewage…what to do with the toxics introduced through home and industrial chemicals….

  • http://bacchusp.wordpress.com/ Winn Taylor

    While I think this is ingenious, I’m not convinced that it will decrease the number of virgin trees being cut down. Wood pulp used for our everyday paper and printing paper has a stronger fiber. The fiber strength is weakened each time it is recycled and used in the manufacturing of new products. The type of paper used for packaging such as egg cartons is a weaker fiber – at the lowest paper grade. Paper is sorted for recycling based on this grade. Low grade paper is not used for higher grade paper products.  Paper can not go through the recycling process unlimited number of times. It sounds as thought the paper created from waste will be at a very low grade. It will not be able to replace the newer fiber needed for higher grade paper products. Still… a great idea.