Although an office based pulping and paper-making machine might bring an end to annoying footers about printing emails, it will achieve lots around closure experiences in the office environment.
Epson have recently released the worlds first office paper making machine, that turns waste paper in to new sheets. Although this is an enormous achievement for Epson, and will be greatly appreciated by many large companies and organisations, its real achievement is dealing with 2 closure experience issues common in offices. Firstly, it reveals the end of the paper life-cycle to the people that use paper. Secondly it securely destroys unwanted documents while the authors of those documents witness it.
The usual customer life-cycle for office paper, or any recycling program for that mater, is the effort that goes into it is hidden from the consumer. Paper recycling is a long drawn-out affair with lorries picking up waste paper, taking it to a collection points, that assembles the paper in bulk and transports it again to recycling centres, which then pulp it into new paper, and re-distribute to shops, who reveal it to the consumer, who then buys it.
Reducing this to a shorter, quicker, more transparent process is good. Not only taking trucks off the road, but it brings acknowledgement of a closure experience to the people who can make a real behaviour change about their paper usage - the customer.
All too often the customer is hidden from the consequences of their consumption - the machine of industry deals with that. The customer places the paper in the right bin, and gets another ream of paper to put in the printer. They don’t see the end of the product life-cycle, and therefore have little acknowledgement of it. Just an interest in it. This might go as far as being happy about the recycle logo on the paper pack.
Now, they will need to attend to the recycling process themselves. Witnessing it in their own office, at the same time appreciating their role in that process. They have moved from the passive role of interest, too one of control.
This will be welcomed by authors of sensitive material that have a profound anxiety about the security of document destruction. They can now rest-assured, knowing that a sensitive piece of material is gone forever as they witness it themselves being destroyed.
Future innovations, such as the Epson PaperLab, are welcomed. They create a meaningful acknowledgement at the end of a products life - a closure experience. Creating witnesses of consumption, not just passive actors in it is a good step forward in dealing with the cost of consumption. My only request is they call it the Epson End Maker Paper Maker.