Scientists Have Invented Reusable Paper That Can Help Tackle Climate Change

The paper can be reused up to 80 times.

An excessive amount of waste and not enough recycling is nothing new, and today these are issues that are more widely publicized than ever, but new statistics from WWF have shown that the world goes through a million tons of paper every day, which is a figure that is constantly increasing. In past years, the average person’s only option to tackle this issue has been to use less paper and recycle any that is used, however, a new kind of paper has just been invented by Yadong Yin at the University of California at Riverside that could offer an alternative option that is good for the planet.

Together with his team, Yin has created a new kind of paper that can be printed using ultraviolet light and can erase everything that is on it by just heating it up or simply leaving it for five days, according to recent reports. They made the revolutionary paper by combining Prussian Blue dye with titanium dioxide to make nanoparticles which could then be applied to normal paper in the form of a coating. At this stage, they can then shine UV light onto it which causes the titanium to turn the dye white in specific places. This process can even be specific enough to work on different colored paper, although blue ink on white paper is the easiest to read.

The attractive factor of this new paper is that it can be reused up to 80 times, which could consequently have a huge impact on the environment as it could mean that current paper usage could be reduced to just a fraction of its former levels. Although the concept of reusable paper has been used in the past, this new technology is the first that uses low-cost materials which would allow it to be more available for the ‘every day’ person. The added concept of the words disappearing after five days could either be seen as an advantage or disadvantage, depending on the purpose of the text and paper use, although if the consumer was aware of this feature then this paper would be used specifically for things that would normally be thrown away if they were printed in ink. This would therefore seriously reduce waste, especially considering that documents can still be saved on computers and other technology.

In addition to a reduction in deforestation if this concept was commonly used, there are a variety of other benefits to this process. Current statistics state that almost one per cent of all carbon emissions currently come from paper production, meaning that adopting reusable paper could also reduce air pollution. Although this percentage may not sound like much, the oncoming threat of climate change makes even a possible small change to prevent it worthwhile. Whilst Yin’s project is currently taking place, it will still be a while before anyone can use the new reusable paper on a large scale. This is due to the fact that his team is still in the process of perfecting the creation of the printer that will be able to write on the paper. Despite this, once the process is complete, this new paper will be a much more sustainable alternative to the current printing methods.

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