Super-spies rejoice: Self-erasing paper!

By Rob Dunn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Eraser. You've seen em, you've used em. Xerox is making them obsolete! From the evil empire of Xerox (an old former employer), comes an interesting concept in the age of a “paperless society”: paper that actually erases itself after 16 hours!

The idea behind the self-erasing printer paper is to help eliminate the waste generated when people print off documents for a meeting or other purpose where the paperwork will get thrown away within hours (or minutes) of being printed. These are categorized as “daily use” print jobs – emails, web pages, etc. which are typically destined for a single viewing.

Of course, there are obvious benefits: Copier machine pranks would be fun again, inappropriate jokes could be printed, “stick-it-to-the-man” memos could be left on the boss’ desk, I could go on…

In all seriousness, this is fine and dandy, but how many jammed printers will we see after we send a few of these slightly dog-eared “reprints” through our Laserjets? How easily will the secretary down the hall print off the “big presentation” hand-outs only to find a stack of blank pages right before the meeting? How many additional resources will we devote to the printed page rather than attempting to re-think how we use paper in the office?

While I appreciate the idea of the “erasable paper” (yep, that’s the name Xerox is patenting, what the heck have I been using all these years!?) and its supposed green benefits, I just don’t think that this is the direction we should be taking with our apparent need for handling hard copy.

What are your thoughts? Shouldn’t we be working on a true paperless society, or will that day never come?