IF YOU have recently driven along a newly-paved road, there’s a chance your car has travelled over old printer cartridges.
Several Melbourne councils have resurfaced roads using an asphalt called TonerPave, developed by engineering company Downer EDI Limited and Melbourne company Close the Loop.
TonerPave’s website says the asphalt is made with “recycled polymers” sourced from toner cartridges and waste acrylic paint and car and truck tyres.
The core product is sourced from a powder found in toner and inkjet cartridges, something which Close the Loop has plenty of — the company has collected and recycled more than 22,000 tonnes of toner and inkjet cartridges since 2001.
Downer corporate affairs manager Sonja Stockton said councils using the product included Nillumbik, Hume, Boroondara, Banyule, Stonnington and Kingston.
“What we have observed is that increasingly we are seeing councils taking a leadership position on behalf of their communities by reusing the waste toner that is generated by their residents and businesses and diverting it into their roads,” Ms Stockton said.
Nillumbik Council used the material to resurface pavement on Eltham’s Pitt St between Arthur St and Wattle Grove at a cost of $45,000.
Nillumbik spokeswoman Joanne Hammond said paving roads with recycled materials was part of the council’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and reliance on diminishing resources.
Ms Hammond said there were plans to use the material on Eltham’s Bible and Arthur streets later in the year.
Nillumbik Mayor Michael Young said the council was always looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint.
“This low CO2 asphalt reduces our carbon impact by (more than) 23 per cent when compared to typical VicRoads asphalt products,” Cr Young said.
“The materials used for Bible and Pitt streets include recycled printing toners, recycled oils and recycled bitumen pavements, therefore reducing the amount of material that would otherwise be disposed of at landfill.”
Greater Dandenong Greens councillor Matthew Kirwan said the initiative was a positive for the city, which had used the product on roads including Benga Ave and Rylands Rd in Dandenong and Marshall St in Noble Park.
“It’s great to hear that we are using such products in Greater Dandenong, keeping the printer cartridges out of landfill and therefore both reducing our landfill costs and reducing our carbon emissions,” Cr Kirwan said.
— with Shaun Campbell