Recycling’s better than sending good paper to the landfill. Even better is not printing in the first place. But there’s still a lot of stuff that comes out of printers and some studies show that more than 40% gets discarded on the day it was produced (and a lot of the rest gets discarded not much later, or gets stuffed in a box and is never looked at again).
The researchers at XEROX looked at that problem and came up with a paper that self-erases within 24 hours and can then be re-used. Read on for more details.
Printing With Light
The catch is that you can’t just use regular ink for it to work. You need a certain type of light:
The “a-ha” moment came from developing compounds that change color when they absorb a certain wavelength of light but then will gradually disappear. In its present version, the paper self-erases in about 16-24 hours and can be used multiple times.
You can also erase the page faster by exposing it to heat.
The scientists at PARC (the place that invented the laser printer) are working on a new type of printer that could print with the right type of light.
Don’t expect to see this for sale quite yet, though. It’s still a research project and it needs to be polished some more before commercialization. Still, in the long run it could save a of tree. In the meantime, think before you print.