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The Unprinter

Cambridge University scientists have developed an printer which removes ink from Paper which has been printed on so that it can be re-used. The printer sends pulses of green laser through the Paper, vaporising the toner.

If you’re wondering whether all that electronic fuss will cancel out the reduction in carbon footprint by reusing the Paper, it seems to work out OK.

Paper manufacturing produces millions of tons of CO2 every year and recycling Paper is fairly resource-intensive too. This experimental de-printer could cut down on electricity usage, CO2 output and ever-scarcer fresh water. Not so good for the Paper industry, but perhaps a chink of light in the prognosis for our species’ survival.

“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. It’s now a matter of building the technology into a commercial device, which the team admits is probably a long way off. High-powered picosecond lasers are the reserve of labs… for now!” (Sebastian Anthony for


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