Tafline likes toilet talk, products and innovation that comes from human waste. See her round up on 5 innovations that turn the toilet into power. Following this article she picked up on the great new story of Applied Clean Tech, an Israeli company that is developing recycled paper from used toilet paper and other solid waste from the toilet. Sounds gross at first thought – imaging having your tofu burger wrapped in paper that previously came from someone’s toilet? But with sanitary issues aside, the idea is brilliant. It’s upcycling in the best way.
I spoke with Refael Aharon, the CEO of the company last week, and he says that undigested human fecal matter, toilet paper, and get this… lint from washing machines, makes up the cellulose content in his recycled paper, soon to be used on the Israeli market as envelopes.
While the company tried jumping into the biofuel market, by turning the cellulose and oil materials from raw sewage into biofuel (see my coverage on Applied Clean Tech from 2009 here), a sooner to market idea will be recycled paper from the same solid waste they believe. The challenge Aharon says will be how to help their customers market this new product.
Energy savings are important: sewage treatment plants that use the new system, pictured above, can save 20 to 30 percent on energy costs treating the sludge. Plants can also earn a valuable commodity, recycled paper, along the way. Smell-less and clean, would you use recycled toilet paper for anything but toilet paper?
Another question I have is what countries should we expect to have the highest cellulose levels in the sludge? I would vote down Thailand and India, for instance, where the hand washing method prevails, and would assume the clean freaks from Switzerland with 4-ply toilet paper would produce more recycled paper product. On the other hand, the Swiss diet is high in meat and cheese, and the vegetarians in India probably produce more cellulose. These are important questions for our friends over at Freakonomics to answer. Please! The people from which countries produce the most cellulose in their solid waste? Inquiring minds want to know.