From Toner to Tarmac
Author: Jess McCallum
The last thing you'd expect to do after putting used printer cartridges into a ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' box is to drive over them. But that's exactly what could happen due to the development of a new product that turns residual toner into road surface. What's more, the recycled material, called TonerPaveTM, which is being rolled out in streets around Australia right now, makes road surfaces stronger and reduces their carbon emissions.
TonerPaveTM has been created by Close the Loop®, the recycling partner in the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' program, and Downer, a leading provider of engineering and infrastructure management services.
How's It Done
Well there's quite a process involved in breaking up the used cartridges, separating the various materials like plastic, metals, ink and toner and then reprocessing them into new products. The really great thing about TonerPaveTM is that the use of the recycled toner makes the original material better. It is stronger, it lasts longer and it reduces its carbon footprint.
You can find out more of the technical detail about this process on the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' news page.
Although it's a new product there are already 7 streets around Australia that include recycled toner powder and many more are planned.
Over 24 million cartridges or 11,000 tonnes of material, have been diverted from landfill since the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' program began.
You can help the program to continue to grow by recycling your old cartridges. Either:
- Drop them into the collection boxes all Officeworks and JB Hi-Fi stores and participating Australia Post, Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, The Good Guys and Office National outlets. (Find your nearest location here) or
- If your workplace uses more than 3 cartridges a month it could be eligible for a free collection box. Call the Cartridges Hotline on 1800 24 24 73 or visit the website for more information.
Finally, it's important to recognise all of these benefits are made possible because the program's participating manufacturers have taken on the responsibility of paying for the collection, transport and recycling of the cartridges they produce and for promoting the program. Thanks and congratulations Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta and Kyocera.