Nav: Home

Rewritable material could help reduce paper waste

November 02, 2016

Even in today's digital age, the world still relies on paper and ink, most of which ends up in landfills or recycling centers. To reduce this waste, scientists have now developed a low-cost, environmentally friendly way to create printed materials with rewritable paper. Their report on the material, which is made out of tungsten oxide and a common polymer used in medicines and food, appears in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

The U.S. has been working to reduce paper waste by increasing recycling efforts for years. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more paper is now recovered for recycling than almost all other materials combined. This saves energy, water, landfill space and greenhouse gas emissions. But even more waste could be avoided if consumers could reuse paper many times before recycling or trashing it. So far, however, such products under development often are made with toxic, expensive organic dyes. Ting Wang, Dairong Chen and colleagues wanted to come up with a better solution.

The researchers created a film by mixing low-toxicity tungsten oxide with polyvinyl pyrrolidone. To "print" on it, they exposed the material to ultraviolet light for 30 seconds or more, and it changed from white to a deep blue. To make pictures or words, a stencil can be used so that only the exposed parts turn blue. To erase them, the material can simply sit in ambient conditions for a day or two. To speed up the erasing, the researchers added heat to make the color disappear in 30 minutes. Alternatively, adding a small amount of polyacrylonitrile to the material can make designs last for up to 10 days. Testing showed the material could be printed on and erased 40 times before the quality started to decline.
-end-
The authors acknowledge funding from Shandong University and Shandong Province.

The abstract that accompanies this study is available here.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

Follow us: TwitterFacebook

American Chemical Society

Related Recycling Articles:

Recycling plant material into stock chemicals with electrochemistry
While most people think of recycling in terms of the packaging for household products, the concept can extend to the chemistry to make them in the first place.
Researchers develop recycling for carbon fiber composites
A WSU research team for the first time has developed a promising way to recycle the popular carbon fiber plastics that are used in everything from modern airplanes and sporting goods to the wind energy industry.
Making bins more convenient boosts recycling and composting rates
Want to recycle or compost more? Try moving the bins closer, new UBC research suggests.
'Recycling protein' shown to affect learning and memory in mice
Learning and memory depend on cells' ability to strengthen and weaken circuits in the brain.
New polymer additive could revolutionize plastics recycling
Only 2 percent of the 78 million tons of manufactured plastics are currently recycled into similar products because polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), which account for two-thirds of the world's plastics, have different chemical structures and cannot be efficiently repurposed together.
The U joins national sustainable manufacturing alliance for recycling and remanufacturing
The University of Utah joins the Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions Institute, a national coalition that aims to drive down the cost of technologies essential to reuse, recycle and remanufacture metals and other materials.
Chemistry research breakthrough that could improve nuclear waste recycling technologies
Researchers from The University of Manchester have taken a major step forward by describing the quantitative modelling of the electronic structure of a family of uranium nitride compounds -- a process that could in the future help with nuclear waste recycling technologies.
Carbon dots dash toward 'green' recycling role
Nitrogen-doped graphene quantum dots are used as electrocatalysts to reduce carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, to valuable hydrocarbons like ethylene and ethanol.
The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
All cells have surface membranes and maintaining the surface area of this membrane is critical to the normal functioning of cells.
Protein synthesis: Ribosome recycling as a drug target
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers have elucidated a mechanism that recycles bacterial ribosomes stalled on messenger RNAs that lack termination codons.

Related Recycling Reading:

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling (Little Green Books)
by Alison Inches (Author), Pete Whitehead (Illustrator)

Why Should I Recycle? (Why Should I? Books)
by Jen Green (Author), Mike Gordon (Illustrator)

Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash
by Edward Humes (Author)

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia (Millbrook Picture Books)
by Miranda Paul (Author), Elizabeth Zunon (Illustrator)

I Can Save the Earth!: One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (Little Green Books)
by Alison Inches (Author), Viviana Garofoli (Illustrator)

Recycling Is Fun (My Little Planet)
by Charles Ghigna (Author), Ag Jatkowska (Illustrator)

The Adventures of an Aluminum Can: A Story About Recycling (Little Green Books)
by Alison Inches (Author), Mark Chambers (Illustrator)

Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade
by Adam Minter (Author)

Garbage and Recycling: Environmental Facts and Experiments (Young Discoverers: Environmental Facts and Experiments)
by Rosie Harlow (Author), Sally Morgan (Author)

Michael Recycle
by Ellie Bethel (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Right To Speak
Should all speech, even the most offensive, be allowed on college campuses? And is hearing from those we deeply disagree with ... worth it? This hour, TED speakers explore the debate over free speech. Guests include recent college graduate Zachary Wood, political scientist Jeffrey Howard, novelist Elif Shafak, and journalist and author James Kirchick.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#486 Volcanoes
This week we're talking volcanoes. Because there are few things that fascinate us more than the amazing, unstoppable power of an erupting volcano. First, Jessica Johnson takes us through the latest activity from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii to help us understand what's happening with this headline-grabbing volcano. And Janine Krippner joins us to highlight some of the lesser-known volcanoes that can be found in the USA, the different kinds of eruptions we might one day see at them, and how damaging they have the potential to be. Related links: Kilauea status report at USGS A beginner's guide to Hawaii's otherworldly...