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By Stephanie Chan • Staff Journalist

A leading asphalt producer has partnered with a resource recovery company to develop a low carbon asphalt, putting a new spin on the concept of recycled aggregates.

A joint venture between Downer EDI and Close the Loop has developed TonerPave, a new asphalt that contains a high level of recycled content with a carbon footprint that is smaller than comparable asphalt mix designs.

The main product in TonerPave is “modified toner polymer” (MTP), which is produced by Close the Loop as part of its toner cartridge recycling process. The MTP is delivered to Downer’s asphalt plant and combined with bitumen and aggregate before being trucked to site and applied in the same way as standard bitumen.

The joint venture is also currently working on new formulations of TonerPave that include waste acrylic paint and the use of crumb rubber from recycled car and truck tyres.

According to the TonerPave website, the product shows “improved performance over control asphalt of similar mix design in physical, mechanical, and environmental aspects”.

“The test results show increased stiffness, which would reasonably suggest reduced rutting and cracking leading to reduced whole of life costs,” the website states.

A number of Victorian councils – including Nillumbik, Hume, Boroondara, Banyule, Stonnington and Kingston – have reportedly begun using the product to resurface their roads and pavements.

Nillumbik mayor Michael Young told Diamond Valley Leader, “This low carbon dioxide asphalt reduces our carbon impact by [more than] 23 per cent when compared to typical VicRoads asphalt products.

“The materials used for [two of our 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.”

Competition or collaboration?

At a recent TonerPave presentation to a number of council representatives, Downer’s George Hatzimanolis described the new product as “our long, flat, black quarry”, and a related TonerPave media release stated, “Instead of utilising deep finite quarries which will one day run out of resources, TonerPave has an infinite future of use, recycle and reuse.”

While this statement implies that TonerPave could usurp demand for quarry products, Dayne Steggles, business development manager of Boral Recycling, instead believes that it presents an opportunity for quarry companies.

“There is undoubtedly opportunity for manufactured aggregates through the advancement of polymers, and certainly we have seen this in other markets around the globe,” he told Quarry. “The challenge is always to bring such innovation to market in a truly sustainable way.

“TonerPave represents a refinement of recycled aggregate development as yet not widely seen. In particular, the placement of niche manufacturing waste in the aggregate production cycle presents very real opportunities.”

Steggles, who also chairs the Hunter Region branches of both the Institute of Quarrying Australia and the Waste Management Association of Australia, added, “My joint role between quarrying and recycling leaves me excited about the future of manufactured aggregates.”

Sources: TonerPave, Diamond Valley Leader