e-Paper goes a long ways at replacing current paper sheets.
The paperless office is a myth. We all still need to print stuff out occasionally, but a new form of e-paper may go a long way towards replacing the paper sheets we put in our printers and use once before recycling.
The new flexible e-paper is called i2R e-Paper and can be printed on using a thermal printer. It can also be wiped in the same way, or just by supplying electricity to the sheet. That reuse could save on a lot of paper, especially as one sheet is good for 260 re-prints and they only cost $2 each at A4 size…
Compare that to 500 sheets of printer paper that can cost anywhere between $4-$8 and the price is comparable, you just don’t get the same level of waste. The one thing we’d like to know though, is how easy it is to recycle the i2R sheets once they have gone past their usable lifespan?
The i2R e-paper is so cheap compared to say, the Kindle e-paper display, because it is manufactured in a way that does not require electrodes. Instead, a sheet of plastic is covered in cholestric liquid crystal. The sheets can achieve 300pdi and display multple colors, but only require power in the form of heat to change them. Once printed they retain the print, meaning an ID badge or not often changed check list is an ideal use.
The team behind the e-paper at the Industrial Technology Research Institute hopes that i2R will be used not just as an alternative to A4 paper, but scaled up to replace many of the advertisng boards we see. Only having to replace the sheet every 260th advert could save a significant amount of money and waste if it was done on a large enough scale.
Head on over to the Reuters YouTube page for a video showcasing the e-paper. Unfortunately they’ve disabled embedding otherwise we’d have it here for you to watch.