Tech vs. Trees: Paper-based COVID-19 test combines accuracy of PCR with convenience of antigen test, Amazon to open new print-on-demand books facility, entrepreneur upcycles used wooden chopsticks into furniture

Sample article from our Pulp & Paper Industry

LOS ANGELES , February 4, 2022 () –

A roundup of recent trends pitting technology against the printed word:

Trees: Paper-based COVID-19 device combines accuracy of PCR and convenience of antigen test

Nearly two years into the pandemic, many are familiar with the difference between a diagnostic antigen rapid test and a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test that’s more accurate but may take days to produce results. At the University of Connecticut, associate professor Changchun Liu may have combined the best features of both tests (speed and accuracy) into a new kind of COVID-detection device. Liu’s test works much like a PCR test in that it detects the presence of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material, but like an antigen test, the device can be used at home and takes 40 minutes to produce results, according to a university release on Jan. 28. Liu’s device is termed pH-EVD, which stands for a pH-paper-based extraction and visual detection, and involves the use of CRISPR technology and a cellulose-based pH paper membrane that’s similar to many rapid tests. Users of the test would also collect a nasal swab, add it to the specially formulated paper and incubate it in a smart cup. In 40 minutes, results are indicated by yellow for positive and green for negative. The university is actively looking for a company to commercialize the technology, and noted the platform can also be applied to diagnosing other viruses such as HIV, influenza and HPV.


Trees: Amazon to open new print-on-demand books facility in Florida

Print books have shown strong and steady uptick in recent years, as U.S. unit sales have jumped 8% in 2020 and took an even bigger leap in 2021 at 9% growth, according to NPD Bookscan. A development that could signal a continued appetite for print books is Amazon opening a new print-on-demand books facility in Orlando, Florida. The high-tech facility will support authors and publishers with a service that makes books on-demand when Amazon customers place an order, according to a Jan. 27 news release from the Orlando Economic Partnership. The service would give customers more selection without publishers having to cover the upfront cost of printing inventory, according to the release. In terms of speed, a complete book could be made in 10 minutes, and Amazon’s Middletown, Delaware, facility can produce up to 50,000 books daily, according to company officials, The News Journal reported in 2018.


Trees: Entrepreneur upcycles used wooden chopsticks into furniture

From wood waste to paper cartons, these raw materials have caught designers’ eye in recent years when it came to creating sustainable furniture. In Singapore, entrepreneur Evelyn Hew had that same vision when she came across disposable wooden chopsticks. In a process she calls “urban harvesting,” Hew’s team from her company ChopValue Singapore has recovered 1.2 million pairs of used chopsticks from restaurants in the past five months. These chopsticks then get upcycled into tables, shelves, wall décor and other home items, CAN Lifestyle reported Feb. 2. In addition to diverting these used chopsticks from landfills, the upcycling process uses minimal water, reduces carbon emissions and does not use toxins. Prices for the upcycled furniture range from S$158 (US$117.60) for wall décor to S$1,288 for an office desk. In the coming months, ChopValue expects to grow its line to 50 products, which include products like iPad stands and cheese boards.




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