Decades on from the anticipated ‘paperless office’, global paper consumption continues to rise. More paper is recycled than ever before, but the rising demand from developing economies is piling the pressure on the world’s forests.
It is estimated that 200 million trees were cut down to provide China with paper in 2013. That is driving major deforestation in countries such as Indonesia, and Chinese environmental organisations have begun to focus on paper use.
Since the majority of what we print is only needed for a matter of minutes, Friends of the Earth China has come up with a creative solution – disappearing ink. They worked with a lab to create an ink that slowly fades when exposed to carbon dioxide.
It’s a simple intervention. Just load in the new cartridge, and print what you need as normal. After two or three days, the ink will have faded and left the paper good as new and ready to use again.
The ad above was run to raise awareness of paper waste rather than a market the new ink, but apparently it has been developed and successfully tested. Unless re-usable e-paper gets there first, perhaps we might yet see disappearing ink become a standard office feature. And while we wait, we can reduce paper waste the old fashioned way – by thinking before we print.