There are two major drawbacks to computer printers. One is that they use
toner and the other is that you run through an awful lot of paper. Even
with recycling that is a huge impact on the environment. Wouldn't it be
great to have aPrePeat Inkless Printer printer that didn't use either product? While the
invention of the PrePeat Inkless Printer is fairly new over the past few
years, the attempts to create it started back in the 1970s.
A Japanese company, Sanwa Newtec, has put their inkless and paperless printer on the market. The printer works with plastic sheets of paper (made of PET) that are embedded with leuco dyes. These dyes are colored when cool and clear when hot. The heat emitted by the printer first erases the page and then creates an image. No ink or toner is used in the process.
Each of these sheets can be reused up to 1,000 times. Draft copies don't have to become a part of the landfill, or go through paper recycling. Instead, you will re-feed the paper into the printer for the next print yourself. The printer erases the existing image before creating the new one.
The paperless office never quite emerged as a reality, but this printer can bring us one step closer. Documents that are read only once, like memos, emails, or drafts, can be printed and reprinted without using numerous sheets of paper.
The main drawback of this new technology is that it is still very expensive. The printer itself will run you up to $6,000. To purchase 1,000 sheets of the special paper can cost upwards of $3,300. While this obviously isn't a product for the home office at this point, it can eventually pay for itself in companies that go through a great deal of paper. Hopefully, as with other technology, the prices will begin to fall as the technology spreads and improves. In addition to the reduction in the cost of paper, there is also the savings in not having ink or toner, as well as not needing to provide storage space for the consumables.
What wasn't clear was whether or not there is a way to write on the sheets by people who are editing or proofreading documents. Perhaps that is the next invention in line.
Sources: How Stuff Works, Gizmodo