New unprinting method can help recycle paper and curb environmental costs

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A new way to unprint paper using intense pulsed light from a xenon lamp.

Imagine if your printer had an “unprint” button that used pulses of light to remove toner—and thereby quintupled the lifespan of recycled paper.

A Rutgers-led team has created a new way to unprint paper that, unlike laser-based methods, can work with the standard, coated paper used in home and office printers. The new method uses pulses of light from a xenon lamp, and can erase black, blue, red and green toners without damaging the paper, according to a study in the Journal of Cleaner Production.

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