This one nearly slipped us by, but I'm glad it didn't since *shock+horror* here's a second interesting printer story in just three weeks!
Following on from the HP 3D Printers announced last month, DigInfo has discovered the 'Prepeat' inkless, tonerless and paper reusing printer. Yes, you may have heard of those first two qualities, but the latter...?
Crazy as it sounds the Prepeat does indeed recycle paper allowing old print-outs simply to be stuffed back into the paper tray and printed over. Manufacturer Sanwa Newtec says there is no degredation in print quality with the Prepeat simultaneously erasing the old coat of ink before applying the new one. How does it work? The printer uses a special purpose thermal head which heats the paper first to remove the old ink, before applying the new layer.
The catch? A special purpose thermal head requires special purpose rewriteable paper - in this case made of PET plastic. So yes, this is no simple way to suddenly save all the trees. On the plus side, PET plastic pages can be reprinted on up to 1,000x. The second catch? You guessed it, cost.
While you may be doing your bit for the environment with the Prepeat printer, its up front cost is 500,000 yen (over £3,500) and 300 yen (£2.12) per sheet of PET plastic paper (which only comes in reams of 1,000). Consequently, despite the lack of consumables, you could probably find easier and more efficient ways to save both money and the environment.
Then again, the Prepeat is a first generation model and furthermore, that video is really cool!