These days, we send email instead of snail mail, read e-books instead of paperback books, and make announcements via Facebook instead of fliers. But if you think ink and paper is obsolete, you are very mistaken. According to Paper Life Cycle, paper production is still growing by 2.8 percent each year, and the EPA estimates that in 2013, the amount of paper that was recycled averaged 275 pounds per person in the U.S. Clearly, paper is still important.
But in a perfect world, we'd never need to dump paper into a recycling bin in the first place. That's the hope for a new development by researchers Ting Wang, Dairong Chen, and their colleagues: they created a low-cost, nontoxic material that can be printed and erased up to 40 times before any decline in quality.