Toshiba's Eco-Friendly Office Copier Prints Erasable Documents

toshiba copier image

Image via CrunchGear

A new copy machine by Toshiba hopes to be the next big thing for paper-conscious offices. It prints documents that can be erased instantly by heating the pages, and the paper can be used up to five times before needing to be recycled. The toner is heat-sensitive, and loses color when warmed up. But what happens if you leave your important documents in the hot car?According to CrunchGear, the printer with its erasable paper can result in a "60% cut in carbon dioxide emissions, when compared with using four sheets of paper. The copier can make 20 to 30 copies a minute and will cost about 20-30% more than conventional copiers with a similar performance, according to a report in The Nikkei (Japan's biggest business daily)." The company hopes to commercialize the copy machines sometime during the next fiscal year.

It reminds us a little of a giant version of the PrePeat.

The idea is very intriguing -- at least at first. After all, isn't it perfect that an office could reuse paper up to five times? While it sounds like a great way to curb the consumption of paper by offices, there are a few issues that shake the "green" label for the machine. For instance, at what rate will paper get heated and reused, rather than saved (since the purpose of a copy machine is to have hardcopies of a document on hand), and does the energy that goes into heating the paper eat into any carbon savings by minimizing paper use? And what chemicals are used in heat-sensitive ink -- it might be far less green than using soy-based inks.

We aren't convinced that this is necessarily a green solution all around, and it underscores the fact that the greenest thing to do with copiers is just not use them. Avoiding printing in the first place is more practical than investing in this new machine.

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