Planet Ark News - How cartridges and plastic bags are being used to help find a solution to plastic pollution
Planet Ark News

How cartridges and plastic bags are being used to help find a solution to plastic pollution

Date: 06-Jun-18
Author: Claire Bell

TonerPlas™ being laid in Melbourne © Claire Bell

TonerPlas™ being laid in Melbourne

Innovative solutions to combat plastic pollution have been developed by Close the Loop in conjunction with Downer Group to create new technology for road surfaces in Australia. The solution uses waste toner, soft plastics and stockpiled glass to provide a superior asphalt and divert waste from landfill.

Fitting in the with the theme of World Environment Day (June 5) ‘beat plastic pollution’, Close the Loop has engineered an additive called TonerPlas™. This uses waste printer cartridge toner, collected via the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program and soft plastics collected via the RED Group program. This additive is provided to road construction company, Downer Group, who then incorporate TonerPlas™, stockpiled glass and reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) to create a road surface that increases fatigue life to 65%, making it more durable than normal asphalt.

The first site for the surface is in Craigieburn in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, and it is hoped that councils around Australia will use TonerPlas™ as a sustainable road surface and as part of the solution to turn waste into recycled products.

The figures are impressive, just 1km of TonerPlas™ uses the equivalent of 530,000 plastic bags, 168,000 glass bottle equivalents and 12,500 used printer cartridges. It also uses 134 tonnes of reclaimed asphalt and has a total 25% recycled material content.

"Our close partnership with Downer and RED Group has allowed us to work collaboratively to improve the way we design and manufacture sustainable outcomes for waste that has meaningful uses. We are very pleased to set yet another industry benchmark, seeing soft plastics used for the first time in an Australian road,” said Nerida Mortlock, General Manager of Close the Loop Australia.

The collaboration between Downer, RED Group and Close the Loop, along with product stewardship programs like Cartridges 4 Planet Ark, provides a leading example of how innovative solutions to waste can be developed (urgently needed in the wake of the China Sword policy) and implemented, on a sustainable and economically viable scale, to benefit communities and the environment across Australia.

Positive actions

  • Recycle printer cartridges and soft plastics. Visit to find out where
  • Write to your council or state MP to encourage the use of recycled products such as TonerPave in their procurement policies


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes. 

Claire                                            Bell

Author: Claire Bell

Claire has been working at Planet Ark since 2011, after working in the communications industry and raising a young family. She is passionate about her children and helping the environment. Claire is super-organised and excellent multitasker, which helps in her joint roles as Office Manager and Campaign Coordinator.
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