Did you know that the plastic in a bottle of soda can be used to make paper? That really is the case, according to a recent development from Toshiba.
The electronics giant has built a printer that uses plastic paper that can be reused many times. The plastic is polyethylene terephthalate, otherwise known as PET, the same kind of plastic that Coke, Pepsi, and every other soda manufacturer uses to wrap around their precious soft drinks.
Toshiba does a little more to the PET, however, wrapping it in another layer, this one made of heat-sensitive pigments that can turn black or white. The printer—model number B-SX8R for those keeping score at home — can change the temperature in order to write and, more importantly, erase text and graphics. They have to be black and white, though: No color process has been invented yet, although we’re sure that that’s on the horizon.
The B-SX8R isn’t all fast, achieving just 12 pages a minute, but it can achieve a resolution of 300 dpi, which is the equivalent of some glossy magazines. The really important number is 500, which a Toshiba spokesman says is the number of times one sheet of paper can be used before it falls apart.
The other important element to all of this is that the new Toshiba printer emits much less carbon than today’s laser printers. Emissions would also be cut and time saved because the number of paper recycling plants could be cut.
So have another soda, but remember that you might see that plastic coming out of a printer someday soon.