It's easy enough to print out a sheet of paper with some sort of text on it these days, but what about the process of removing that ink from the paper? Engineers at the University of Cambridge are working on a solution that makes that a reality and could lead to a boost in reusable paper technology. The solution is something that could indeed revolutionize the way we think about recycling.
The researchers say they have created a solution that can essentially vaporize ink from pages that have been printed with toner ink, allowing end users to print new content on paper that has already been used and in effect creating an eco-friendly answer to the question of how to recycle paper after it's already been used. For now, it's not something that could be released on a commercial level, but scientists hope that will change.
"When you fire the laser, it hits the thin toner layer and heats it up until the point that you vaporise it. Toner is mostly composed of carbon and a plastic polymer. It's the polymer in the toner that is vaporised," explained David Leal-Ayala, head of the research project, in a BBC interview. Their research has been published in the Proceedings of The Royal Science A journal.