Monday, April 2, 2012

An "Unprinter" to Clean Laser Printed Paper

Pretty neat technology!  It’s kind of cool to think that in a few years, you might run your paper through an “unprinter” instead of a shredder or putting it in the recycle bin. 

An "Unprinter" to Clean Laser Printed Paper

Written by Philip Proefrock on 03/16/12

Scientists at the University of Cambridge (England) have developed a method using lasers to remove the toner from a laser printed page, which would allow the paper to be reused. With the "unprinter," a green laser is flashed at the page. This does not harm the paper, but the light is absorbed by the toner, causing it to detach from the paper.
Because of the difference in technology between laser printing, where the toner sits on top of the paper and is fused to it by heat, and inkjet printing, where some of the dye is absorbed by the paper, it probably would not work (or would work less well) with inkjet printing.
As noted on Slashdot, "Recycling paper is a good step in the right direction, but it still pales in comparison to unprinting. In a worst-case scenario, The University of Cambridge unprinting method has half the carbon emissions of recycling; best-case, unprinting is almost 20 times as efficient."

Please email comments and questions to

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-7704 Fax - (954) 828-7897

Think before you print!