Maclean’s Magazine reports that the low-carbon materials processing group at the University of Cambridge have found a new technique for recycling paper.
Julian Allwood (group leader) and his collaborators have developed a process that can remove toner from printed paper so it can be used again – essentially an “unprinter”. In a nutshell, the process uses very short pulses of laser light to heat up the ink on a printed page until the ink vaporizes. With this technique, a piece of paper can reportedly be reused up to 5 times.
As discussed in a University of Cambridge research note, this new process offers promise for significantly reducing the amount of trees harvested to create paper. And reusing paper could save an additional 50-80% in carbon emissions over recycling.
IM practitioners don’t have to worry about this technology appearing in office printers/copiers in the near future – commercialization is said to be a ways off yet. But its certainly a technology to keep our eyes on and one which gives new meaning to the “paperless office”.