Should we write off the idea of rewritable paper?


A sheet of office paper is easy to take for granted, but it’s a modern marvel. It’s flexible and strong and can take any color of ink, yielding high-resolution printed letters. Yet office paper requires cutting down trees, and manufacturing it requires water and often bleaching chemicals, such as chlorine dioxide, which can produce toxic chlorinated organic compounds as waste.

That’s why, 2 decades ago, when US paper consumption peaked at a staggering 14,073 metric tons (t) per year of uncoated freesheet paper, the category that includes familiar products like notepads and computer paper, researchers began to explore the idea of rewritable paper.


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