Have you ever been on the beach reading a magazine and wound up with smudgy, inky hands because of how the ink reacted to your sunscreen?
I never really thought about it before, but getting the ink out of paper is actually pretty hard, and as companies look at ways to recycle paper cost-effectively, figuring out a way to make it easier seems to make sense. Some scientists at Hewlett-Packard have been researching so-called deinking procedures and think they have figured out a way to help make it a more integral part of the entire paper-recycling process.
The way recycling works today, apparently, is that the paper is subjected to several different stages of processing, where it is shredded, separated and screened from the ink multiple times, and then bleached. HP's new process is part of its liquid electrophotographic printing technology. Basically, it cuts the recycling process down substantially. By using different chemicals, deinking can be handled during the pulping stage and the ink can later be skimmed off more easily.