Xerox's self-erasing paper: planet saver or inflatable dart board?


The ecological impact is obvious – fewer trees cut down and a whole host of other benefits fall into place. My worry for self-erasing paper is the practical application. If I’ve taken the time to type up a document and print it out, why do I want the copy to disappear?

The way Xerox’s new invention works is that each of the sheets contains coded molecules which respond to ultraviolet light emitted from a special printer. The molecules react to form the copy on the page and slowly fade over a period of 24 hours or faster if exposed to heat. Each leaf can be used 100 times although I’d place bets on most not making it beyond 20.

It’s not that I think the technology is flawed. I doubt it is but what happens when the self-erasing paper gets mixed up with normal paper? What if it gets ruined with standard ink, and then I’m back to the original question of why do we want disappearing ink anyway?

Most people print documents out because they want to keep them. A shopping list is about the only thing I’d like to disappear after 24 hours and then only if I’ve actually done what I promised and got my arse down the shops.

I really, really want this stuff to work. I want it to be useful. I want it to save the planet. I’ve worked into some offices that’d make you heave with the amount of paper they waste but the problem is that anything this company ever printed out, they had intended to keep for a lot longer than 24 hours.

The Xerox technology is fantastic but, please, tell me what it’s for?

(via Gearfuse)

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Daniel Sung
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One thought on “Xerox's self-erasing paper: planet saver or inflatable dart board?

  • Daniel, this technology is clearly useful for companies that need their documents to last for just a couple of hours.

    OK, that was really obvious, but if you understand that you really understood the usefulnes of this technology.

    It may or may not have usefulnes now (I think it has), but in the future it may have, its like pure mathematics.

    Xerox can easilly put a mark (for example a red dot in the right upper corner) to help the users distinguish it from “normal” paper, so the “mixed up scenario” can be solved.

    There are many possibilites, think about advertising of offers in supermarkets, other advertising, and again documents that only are useful for a few hours.

    Think it like a litte improvement, that can lead to other improvements…

    (sorry for me english, it’s not my first language)

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