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Egg-Shell Based Tile Launched by NihonMtecs

Founded in 1997, NihonMtecs is a manufacturer of interior decoration materials and what makes this company especially interesting is that the primary ingredients of all their products are recycled and organic, such as egg shells and cork.

Recently added to their select portfolio of natural products is the “Egg Tile” (エッグタイル). Made from egg shells which were (until recently) disposed of by manufacturers of mayonnaise, the Egg Tile boasts some impressive properties. Aside from being almost completely organic, it is half the weight of regular interior tiles, is able to absorb moisture in the air during humid periods and add moisture to the air during dryer periods (essential in Japan which typically has very dry winters and extremely humid summers).

Licenced CCFlickr: Steven Zolneczko
Licenced CCFlickr: Steven Zolneczko

NihonMtecs product line up includes several other similarly innovative and environmentally sound products, including:

Egg Wall (エッグウォール): a wall paper, also made from egg shells, designed to be applied directly onto plaster board. Similar to the Egg Tile, because of the high calcium carbonate content which is highly porous, the sheets “breath”, allowing carbon dioxide in the room to be filtered out, in exchange for oxygen.

Tsuchikabe (土壁): a natural earth walling material, offered in 5 different varieties, each of which has a different organic base and provides specific functional properties. The 5 different base organic materials include zeolite (a composite of crystalised materials) sourced from Japanese volcanic deposits, egg shells, diatomite (a sedimentary rock sourced from Nevada), calcium carbonate from Okayama prefecture and a red-algae based glue.

Venus Coat (ビーナスコート): a wall coating, also made from egg shells combined with a collagen binder. This product boasts three special properties; the 100% organic materials are extremely safe for human use, the porous nature of the egg shells allow the coating to absorb and decompose odours, and similarly to the Egg Tile, Venus Coat also absorbs moisture in the air.

Tennen Style (天然スタイル) Paint and Wax: A group of products made from linseed oil, bees wax and rice, which can be used as natural wall paint and floor wax.

ReCork (リコルク): A wall paper made from recycled bottle corks. Offered in 3 tones, the wall paper is very soft and highly durable as well as offering extremely good insulating capabilities.

In conjunction with the release of NihonMtecs’ new Egg Tile, the company also announced that it has been selected by the Tokyo Metropolitan government to participate in it’s “trial” programme, which is designed to provide business opportunities for small, local firms by utilising their products within public projects and then publicising those products and projects. More details of the scheme by the Tokyo Metropolitan government can be found here.

NihonMtecs focus on utilising reused organic materials for their products is championed by the company founder, Miura-san. His vision, described on the company web site is:

「資源循環型社会づくりに貢献したいという思いが私たちの商品開発の根底にあります。そのために、研究開発、素材選定、各種試験を行い、長期的な環境視点での「ものづくり」を進めているのです。
そこにあるのは、「ものづくり」に携わる様々な人々の情熱と、豊かな技術力の向上を目指す思い。限りある地球資源をできるだけ消費せず、ものづくりを実現するにはどんなプロセスを描くのがいいのか。そしてそのプロセスからどんな素材が誕生し、どんな物語のようなストーリーを一人でも多くの方に語り継いでいただけたら・・・。私たちの開発現場には、いつもこんな思いが満ちています。」

Which approximately translates as:

“The foundation of our product development is based upon the concept of contributing to a resource circulation model society. Because of that, R&D, material selection and testing are conducted with a “manufacture for long term environmental sustainability” view point. Because of this, we are able to leverage the passion of various people in order to improve the technological strength of our manufacture. It is important to consider the best manufacturing processes in order to ensure we minimise the consumption of earth resources. And then from the process, what kind of materials can emerge and what kind of associated message can we pass on to one or many people. Within our facility, these are the thoughts that are maturing. “

If only more manufactures were as thoughtful and progressive as Miura-san!

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The Author

Colin Silvester

Colin Silvester

Colin was born in Portsmouth, England, and enjoyed his childhood in the natural beauty of the south coast countryside. He studied Computer Science at Hull University and it was during the summer break of his second year, in 1993, that he first travelled to Japan. There he completed a 3 month internship in KDD's AI research division. Curious to learn more about the country, Colin returned to Japan after graduating from Hull and was a “JET” (Assistant Language Teacher on the “Japan Exchange and Teaching” programme) for 3 years in the suburban prefecture of Saitama. Colin then spent a short time at JAC Recruitment until he decided to return to his core profession of IT, joining Bloomberg in Tokyo. After 3 very enjoyable years there, Colin joined a small US telecommunications company, IPC Information Systems, shortly after it established its direct presence in Tokyo. After 12 very informative years (which included 2 years spent at IPC's headquarters in New Jersey), Colin returned to JAC Recruitment, where he is now CIO, responsible for the company's overall technology strategy.

Outside of work, Colin enjoys squash and cycling, touring Japan on his Triumph motorbike, drumming and also DIY. Colin has long been passionate about minimising the impact of humans on the environment and in 2010, Colin and his family realised their dream when they moved into their newly built “eco-house” which Colin and his wife designed with the help of Sumitomo Ringyo. The house is highly energy efficient through extensive use of the latest insulation technology, gas filled glass, LED lighting (approximately 80% of the house uses LED) and 4.1kw of solar panels and as a result, the house is a net producer of electricity.

Colin's long term ambition is to build and run a “British pub” in the fantastic surroundings of the mountains in Nagano!