Science & Tech
'Un-printer' could save money, trees: Researchers

Credits: Jamison_Judd, FlickrCC BY 2.0 license

QMI AGENCY

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have successfully used laser technology to erase toner-print from paper, the first step towards the creation of what they call an "un-printer."

"What we need to do now is find someone to build a prototype. Thanks to low-energy laser scanners and laser-jet printers, the feasibility for reusing paper in the office is there," said Julian Allwood, leader of Cambridge's Low Carbon Materials Processing Group.

Allwood, along with PhD student David Leal-Ayal, were able to remove HP Laserjet black toner from standard Canon copy paper - without damaging the paper - using a variety of lasers.

If offices could use the technology, the researchers say it could save forests and cut carbon emissions dramatically.

"Material recovery through reusing eliminates the forestry step from the life cycle of paper and eradicates emissions arising from paper incineration or decomposition in landfill," Allwood said.

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