Typical toner cartridges and bottles containing residual toner

Typical toner cartridges and bottles containing residual toner

TonerPave™ is a new asphalt with enhanced performance properties due to the inclusion of recycled polymers and other additives. The polymers used are post-consumer recycled (PCR) polymers sourced from the recycling of toner cartridges, waste acrylic paint and/or rubber crumb from recycled car and truck tyres, but the core product behind TonerPave is MTP (Modified Toner Polymer). MTP is made from post-consumer recycled toner powder, which is predominantly plastic. Other ingredients in toner include small amounts of wax, minerals and pigments. Some also include iron oxide, silica and other flow and charge control agents.

The toner powder used to make MTP has been sourced from cartridges collected and recycled by Close the Loop on behalf of the companies they represent. Bulk toner from OEM remanufacturing facilities is also included in the production of MTP.

Close the Loop has collected and recycled over 22,000 tonnes of toner and inkjet cartridges since it launched its game changing business in early 2001. Approximately 80% of this total by weight is toner cartridges and bottles. Given that approximately 30% are returned to the brand owner for reuse and /or remanufacturing, the remaining 12,320 odd tonnes are processed for recovery of raw materials. Of this, approximately 13% by weight, (1600 tonnes) is residual toner powder. 

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Close the Loop’s Green Machine separates raw materials from used cartridges.

This toner powder is homogenised to minimise variability between batches and then agglomerated to produce a finished particle of 1-3mm in diameter. During the agglomeration process one or more other materials such as recycled engine oil may be added. The finished product is MTP and it is delivered to Downer as a polymer based additive.

Downer then adds MTP to the bitumen and aggregate at their asphalt plant. The MTP asphalt is then trucked to site as is any standard asphalt. TonerPave is applied with the same equipment and processes as standard bitumen. TonerPave 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.

TonerPave has a lower carbon footprint to comparable mix designs due to the replacement of bitumen with post-consumer recycled polymers derived from waste toner powder. This innovative asphalt alternative is the result of a partnership between Close the Loop and Downer, and when matched to local government procurement is a world class example of industrial ecology in practice.

Tonerpave process chart 2