The University of Cambridge announced a development in technology last week that could potentially green up the way the world uses paper in the future. Engineers have found a way to unphotocopy paper. The idea of reusing paper isn’t a new one, but this is the first time a process has been created without destroying the original paper in some way. Although the process is not yet complete, it is a big step forward in the recycling scene.
The price to build is still fairly steep for the machine – about £19,000 at present time – but the cost would go down substantially if a larger number of machines where built. However the cost savings of buying new or recycled paper would help to offset the cost over time. As with any new technology, we hope to see this price come down substantially over the next few years to the point where even small businesses or home offices could take advantage.
The recycling process is an expensive one which uses a number of resources to complete. “The paper is still in good condition and there is no point in going through all the heavy industrial process if the paper is still perfectly fine,” said David Leal-Ayala, the research team’s lead author.
Test’s of the process show a very faint outline where the last ink was, making the paper usable for many printing needs. The process involves using short laser pulses to erase words and images by heating the printed material to the point that they vaporise. It would be usable with most commercial inks and paper, however needs more research before the product can be brought to market.