Have you ever printed out an e-mail message or meeting agenda, only to throw it out a few hours later? If Xerox researchers are to be believed, promiscuous printing happens all the time. Based on studies at their own office and elsewhere, the researchers claim that up to 40 percent of all documents printed in offices are discarded within a day.
The company has a solution: erasable paper. Hailed by Time magazine as one of the best inventions of 2007, the paper is coated with a chemical that changes color when exposed to a certain wavelength of light but fades back to its original shade in 16 to 24 hours, making the paper reusable. Of course it doesn't last forever. Dirt happens. But a Xerox spokesman says the paper can survive about 50 passes through a printer.
Erasable paper may save trees but not printers: Xerox research suggests you'll want to have a separate printer for disappearing documents. Send your document to the wrong printer, and you could turn your company's annual report into a daily report.—Dawn Stover
Seeing is believing, check out Xerox's video here.