Toshiba has unveiled a printer that can print, erase and reprint on a single sheet of special paper up to 500 times.
The B-SX8R uses specially engineered paper similar to the thermal paper used in early fax machines, except it can be erased and is much more durable. The sheets are made of plastic and can be recycled at the end of their lives.
Toshiba's process uses a special pigment in the paper that reacts to heat. If heated above 180 degrees centigrade the pigment turns black, creating an image on the sheet.
However, if the surface is heated to between 130 and 170 degrees the pigment reverts to white, allowing the image to be 'erased'.
Special marker pens are also available, which can be erased from the paper using an optional cleaning machine.
Toshiba is touting reduced CO2 emissions created during the paper production process.
Traditional paper manufacture and waste creates 6.5kg of CO2 emissions per 1,000 sheets, compared to 1kg for the same quantity of rewritable paper pages.
The printer costs approximately £5,000 and the paper is estimated to cost £5 per sheet, working out at 1p per use if reused 500 times.
Since the pigment is in the paper, the printer has no consumable costs beyond the cost of the paper.
"The B-SX8R will help reduce paper use thus preserving forest resources and reducing CO2 emissions during paper manufacturing and waste processes," said Mike Keane, european product manager at ToshibaTEC.
"The B-SX8R does a small thing in saving paper resources, but assists in the big practical objective of global environmental conservation."
The printer is currently available only in Japan, but Toshiba is looking to launch in Europe if there is sufficient demand.
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