Samsung Prototypes Efficient and Recyclable Printers

By Wesley Fenlon

The best kind of printer is one you can throw away when it misbehaves--without feeling bad for the environment.

The common wisdom about printers, these days, is that it's often cheaper to buy a new inkjet with bundled ink cartridges than the standalone cartridges. Printers, in other words, are almost disposable. So if we're already throwing our printers away every year or so, why not make them of something more disposable?

That very idea recently earned Samsung some International Design Excellence Awards. The company showed off three prototype printers called the Origami, Clip, and Mate. The Clip printer resembles your typical plastic inkjet, but a bit boxier. That's because the entire shell is made from a single piece of polyethylene plastic, folded up and held together with simple clips. No screws or glue necessary. And while the single sheet of plastic may not be any more recyclable than the average printer, it cuts down on waste during manufacturing.

The Origami concept, though, is even more efficient. It's uses a foldable design, like the Clip, but with cardboard instead of plastic. The actual printing mechanism is obviously not made of cardboard, but the rest of the printer is completely recyclable. Build it, print with it, and throw it away. Sounds like the perfect printer.

The third model, the Mate, starts as a very squat, plain printer body but transforms with colorful outer plating that clips into place. We like the idea of a printer we can throw away more than one that we can customize, but all three prototypes are represented in the video below. Now Samsung simply has to make them real.