What if you could essentially recycle the paper yourself, by printing on it again? Here is an office printer that does that.
Most of the offices we visit take the trouble to recycle unwanted paper, and quite a few purchase recycled paper for use in their printers and copiers.
But what if you could essentially recycle the paper yourself, by printing on it again?
Toshiba today announced a new printer, called the e-Studio306LP, with an accessory that can literally wipe the page clean.
The printer can print on "normal office paper" but can then "erase the toner on the paper and print on the same sheet again and again. In fact, it can print up to 5 times on the same sheet of paper, thereby reducing paper use by up to 80%." - that's according to a Toshiba press release.
Laser printers work by using heat to fuse the toner powder to the page. Toshiba has developed a new low-heat fusing system for the new e-Studio306LP multifunction printer with the additional characteristic that a second application of heat removes the colour from the toner, allowing ordinary paper to be reused up to five times. This special toner is coloured blue so it can be readily distinguished from conventional laser printing.
The companion e-StudioRD30 erasing device can scan pages in order to archive any markup or annotations, and then applies heat to erase the toner. A final scan is then performed to sort reusable sheets from those destined for recycling because they did not erase completely. In addition the blue toner, the RD30 also works with certain erasable pens.
Here is a video of the technology being demonstrated by Toshiba last year:
We would love to tell you how much the e-Studio306LP and RD30 cost, but the system is one of those "price on application" products - in our experience that's often code for "if you have to ask, you can't afford it."
Interestingly, there has been a substantial drop in the amount of paper used (by roughly one-sixth over three years, according to ABARE statistics quoted by Toshiba).
While the growing use of tablets and smartphones mean more and more documents only ever exist in electronic form, sometimes paper is still the best medium for the job.
When it comes to proofreading important documents such as reports and tender bids, we would argue it is sometimes easier to spot errors on a page rather than on a screen. And there are still those people who insist on printing emails.