Aug. 5 - Taiwanese researchers are taking recycling to a new level with ''i2R e-Paper'', a rewritable electronic paper that can be re-used up to 260 times. The developers say their e-paper will soon replace the conventional paper used for signs and posters. Sharon Reich reports.
STORY: It's paper but not as we know it ... not yet anyway. It's called "i2R e-Paper" which its Taiwanese developers say can be used up to 260 times, saving trees and money. Unlike other forms of e-paper, this version uses a thermal printer -- the same kind used in fax machines. And when the message is no longer needed, the paper can be erased with the flip of a switch - and is ready to be reused. The researchers say their product is the ideal replacement for paper signs and posters that are now produced in their millions to hang in store windows around the world. John Chen, is the Vice President of the Industrial Technology Research Institute, where the paper was developed. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL DIRECTOR OF DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY CENTER AT THE INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE, JOHN CHEN, SAYING: "I think the greatest breakthrough was that traditional display devices usually require electricity to write, our technology made it closer to how we would use normal paper -- first it does not require patterned electrodes, it is very light, soft, and rewritable. From this perspective, this is a true e-paper." What makes the "i2R e-Paper" stand out is its coating. Developers covered the plastic film with Cholestric Liquid Crystal. The compound does not require a backlight to print, and by adding optical agents of different pitches, it can produce different colors. And in the long-run, Chen says it will save energy too. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL DIRECTOR OF DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY CENTER AT INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE, JOHN CHEN SAYING: "So far, it can be rewritten and cleared 260 times. In many cases, such as transportation tickets or ID badges, it will save you from printing the same thing 259 times. In terms of environmental protection, this is very meaningful." An A4 sized piece of the e-paper costs about $2.00. The paper is already in production ... and its developers hope that within two years consumers will be able to help keep the earth a little greener, one page at a time. Sharon Reich, Reuters