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?

12 Responses to Super-spies rejoice: Self-erasing paper!

  1. With all of the times I've had to print any document for meetings or discussions or anything else I've seen at work, I can guarantee that it needs to last longer than 16 hours. Plus, after so much time, wouldn't the ink fade? Wouldn't that cause even more problems. You print off a bunch of papers for a meeting, hand them out 4 hours later and it's all faded and hard to read… they're hard to read as it is, especially if they've been faxed in. And for those meeting notes, I'm the type of person that keeps them if I write notes on them. I don't want to have to circle an important item and the next day to find a note with something circled and nothing in the circle. What's the point.

    I can appreciate Xerox wanting to make things 'greener', but they might want to look in a different area.

  2. Now if Xerox could only invent the self erasing cd-rom.

    Given the problems the Brittish Government has been having lately about missing data disks and missing laptops there would appear to be a degree of urgency for such an invention.

  3. A remarkable invention indeed but I doubt it would be very practical. It seems somewhat handy but the paper would eventually become old and would have to be thrown away. A whiteboard seems to serve the same purpose without the annoyances.

  4. A paperless society will not happen in my children's lifetime. (I have no kids, but the point remains)People's memory cannot retain and recall information quick enough to make paper obsolete and technology has not made enough progress to completely fix that. Self erasing paper sounds like a great idea. They should print marriage certificates on it. :)

    • While I agree with you regarding the timeframe for a paperless society, technology like this doesn't help things…

      Re: Marriage certificates

      At least Britney Spears should print hers on it…LOL

  5. this just sounds lame, I mean the paper will get used and thrown away anyways after 1-2 meetings, so what's the point?

    Just recycle the paper and you are contributing, and by recycled paper instead, and you're feeling guilty deamon will stop nagging you.

    That is if you give a rat's ass, I know I don't.

  6. unfortunately I somewhat agree with the time frame for the paperless society. I dont blame it on technology though. There is just too many people who refuse to use technology to their advantage. We have people who refuse to use Microsoft office and prefer to use an older word processor. Causes big headaches I assure you.

    • I'm assuming that the receipt paper would be more expensive to manufacture, and is of a lesser quality.

      However, I'm not sure about that – what would be the major difference other than paper quality here?

  7. I like the idea of a greener paper source, but there are some many other ways of going about doing so. For example, why waste the money on thousands of sheets of paper when you could (possibly) make 1 piece of reusable e-paper (like a computer screen)cheap? I think that that kind of technology is a while a way, but it makes sense to have no paper, as opposed to reuse the same paper again and again.

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