Electronic waste is a global pollution problem in which almost only 20% of the generated waste is put into recycling programs.
Fortunately a merger between two Australian companies has taken a step forward to give an alternative to reduce and reuse this type of waste.
Downer EDI Limited (an Australian road builder and asphalt producer) in partnership with Close the Loop (a cartridge recycling company) has developed a type of asphalt that consists of a mixture of recycled polymers and other additives that has been processed and re-used in new asphalt called “TonerPave”.
TonerPave is a type of asphalt with improved performance properties due to the inclusion of post-consumer recycled (PCR) polymers from the recycling of toner powder and cartridges, acrylic paint waste, wax, minerals, iron oxide, silica rubber crumb from recycled vehicle tires and other additives.
Some of the benefits of using printer toner asphalt are:
- Lower carbon footprint due to the replacement of bitumen with PCR polymers derived from waste toner powder.
- Reducing crude oil by using printer toner in the asphalt mix reduces the amount of bitumen, derived from crude oil.
- No need for buying new equipment since this product is applied with the same equipment and processes.
- Saving energy since the printer toner mix is warmed at 20 to 50 degrees lower than regular asphalt it uses less energy to be produced.
- Reducing landfill with the reuse of printer toner less cartridges end up in landfill.
Sidney currently uses this type of asphalt for its road-resurfacing program. The city first tested the product in 2010 and since then has recycled more than 20,000 tons of cartridge waste. The city estimates that the toner asphalt reduces emissions by 40% compared to conventional asphalt and contributes an annual saving of around 23,000kg of carbon emissions.
“Close the Loop has collected and recycled over 38,000 of toner and inkjet cartridges since the program was launched in 2003. This company not only powers the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program (cartridge collection boxes located across the country) but also manages other programs on behalf of the manufacturers including: Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program, HP Planet Partners Program, Toshiba, OKI Data, Sharp, Roland Digital, Dell, etc”.
– According to the Close the Loop web page.
Roads are not the only way to re use the electronic waste. Cartridges can also be used to make benches, pens, rulers and lots of office supplies; even HP toner cartridges are made out of recycled water bottles and hangers.