Prise winners list

Development of eco-friendly manufacturing process for toilet paper by making best use of wisdom and experience of the local industry

Shikoku Chuo-City, Ehime Prefecture
Izumi Seishi K.K.
Other award winners
Recommended by
Nishi Nippon Home-Use Paper Industry Association

Udaka, Shozo  (66)

We develop a necessary technology for ourselves to protect the natural environment of our hometown, and share it widely instead of protecting it by obtaining a patent. This is our style named "Northern Shikoku Style"

Used papers such as newspapers, magazines and printed papers must be deinked and bleached to recycle them and reuse at home. However, chemicals such as bleacher and a large quantity of cleaning water had to used and so the work of recycling the used paper for home use discharged the contaminated wastewater. To solve this problem jointly with other local companies, this manufacturer developed the "HDK method", a new technology to treat the used papers without using a bleacher and without damaging the pulp fibers. This new eco-friendly technology enabled production of high-quality recycled toilet papers as white as the virgin pulp made by major manufacturers. The new manufacturing process developed by a small company in Northern Shikoku is now a standard in the paper manufacturing industry in Japan and other countries.


"Is our family business polluting the environment?" Facing this reality, we started our challenge for technical innovation.

"I quit the chemical maker and succeeded our family business for recycling paper in 1971 when I was 28 years old, and was surprised to find how badly the river where I used to play at my boyhood was contaminated. Our and other neighboring factories did not have wastewater treatment equipment at that time."
Worried about the pollution of his home town, Mr. Udaka started development of a wastewater treatment plant jointly with Company K promptly after joining his father's factory. The time was just after the Basic Act for Environmental Pollution Control was revised. The plant was completed six months later and discharged clean treated water, and the newspaper reported on it. More than 200 companies in the same business came to see the new plant, and Company K received several orders for construction of wastewater treatment plant. Mr. Udaka says, "I do not wish to monopoly the technology useful for environmental protection by obtaining a patent for it. Such a technology must be used widely by many people". The local industries were encouraged to develop eco-friendly technologies by this success.
Subsequently he tried to improve the performance of paper machine because he wanted to improve the production efficiency and have more holidays for his employees. Working jointly with Company K again, he designed a new test machine that could run at speed of 400m/min, far faster than the convention speed of 250m/min. 
However, in the conventional structure in which a band plate is wrapped around the cell and a separate small dewatering zone is provided, decompressive micro vibration is generated and horizontal-striped pattern is formed on the filtered paper. Therefore they adopted the honeycomb structure that combined a lower net of coarse mesh and an upper net of fine mesh. With this new method, they completed a paper machine that did not form any pattern on the paper and could produce various types of paper in a small quantity. Currently this paper machine, named "Best Former" by Company K, can ran at speed of 1300m/min and is widely used in Japan and other countries.

New ideas for eco-friendly energy-saving papermaking were materialized one after another

The Act on Special Measures concerning the Conservation of the Environment of the Seto Inland Sea was enacted 1973 and industrial wastewater was restricted under the total volume control of COD, one of the indexes for water contamination. In addition, as the time was just after the first oil crisis, the energy cost rose sharply and good quality was required over quantity for our products. To meet such demands of the time, jointly with other local company, Mr. Udaka developed the "HDK method" for paper recycling and manufacturing, contributing a great deal to development of the papermaking industry.
"To recycle used papers, the material is stirred by a pulper, and the ink and the pulp fibers are separated by a floatator. I read the documents in this field carefully at the Ehime Institute of Industrial Technology Paper Technology Center and judged that it was more eco-friendly and energy-saving to use physical action than chemical treatment in order to recycle used papers. I decided to install a kneader between the pulper and the floatator to defiberise the used paper uniformly and dissolve the ink into fine particles."
Jointly with Factory S who had the same idea, he started joint development of a test plant for treatment of used papers. At the same time, he started to solve the problem of the conventional box floatator in which the bubbles, which had absorbed the ink, were accumulated in the dead space (four corners) and the ink was reattached to the pulp fibers. It took them six years to complete a closed floater with an ejector, but the first plant, which used the "HDK method" combining a high-concentration kneader and a closed floater, was constructed for Ehime Pulp Cooperative Association (AIPA) in 1984, and this plant partly modified is operating in a good condition.
This new method enabled production of recycled papers, which had high whiteness even if they were not bleached and had very little ink residue. In addition, although the conventional low-temperature pulping method eluted about 80kg of COD, the new method elutes only 20kg of it. Water quantity was also reduced to 1/3, 25m3/product pulp ton. They have further improved this system for the main facilities of AIPA and established the new used paper recycling system, raising the recycling ratio from about 50% to about 70%. 
Since then, Mr. Udaka has computerized all the office works of his factory and jointly with his employees and the local machinery factory has developed the "necessary" technologies including the automatic palletizer, which a worker can operate three robots with a mouse, and he was awarded a national prize for this invention. 
"Small and medium-sized companies cannot occupy a large share in a wide market but can form a "small island". We, small paper manufactures in Shikoku far away from the main markets, have to continuously develop a new technology that may form the trend of our business filed in the near future. We can enjoy the real pleasure of monodzukuri (manufacturing) for that type of development and invention named "North Shikoku Style" by us. My motto and lifework are "environmentally-friendly paper making".

Izumi Seishi K.K.

Jan. 1949
45 million yen
88 (as of Dec. 2009)
Brief information:
This company has developed a new whole process for production of high-quality home-use papers, including its prominent "HDK method".

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In this "floatator", the ink particles are absorbed by bubbles and removed. This equipment produces white recycled papers without using a bleaching agent and reduces use of water significantly.


Used papers are kneaded at high pressure. The "kneader" defiberizes the used papers uniformly by its friction force and dissolves the ink into fine particles.


This "paper machine" has higher production efficiency than the conventional machines and produces the uniform tissue papers at high speed while meeting the needs for the various products.


The quality of wastewater is kept very high, and the water of the moat in front of his head office is increasing its transparency day by day. Currently several thousands of carp swim in it.


The company sells various recycled toilet papers including soft embossed ones, printed ones and coreless ones across the country.