New manufacturing line can turn more than 2,000t per year of SOFT plastics and toner into ‘TonerPlas’ asphalt additive
Recycling innovator Close the Loop has unveiled an upgraded manufacturing facility that could divert large quantities of Australia’s 300,000 tonnes of waste soft plastics sent to local landfill annually. The new manufacturing line in Melbourne will produce TonerPlas™ – an asphalt additive that contains the equivalent of 530,000 recycled plastic bags, and waste toner from more than 12,300 recycled printer cartridges in every kilometre of two-lane road. In conjunction with Downer, roads made with TonerPlas have already been laid in every State and Territory. Close the Loop said the opening of the line enables the company to produce the additive on a commercial scale. Close the Loop has been at the forefront of the circular economy for more than 17 years. Its Brand promise of zero waste to landfill has resulted in partnerships with manufacturers through take-back programs across multiple sectors including printer cartridges, cosmetics and batteries. Peter Tamblyn, Close the Loop’s Sales & Marketing Manager said “TonerPlas is a great example of how valuable materials can be recycled to not just create new products, but better-quality products. The addition of TonerPlas improves the fatigue life of traditional asphalt by 65 percent, meaning longer lasting roads at a cost-competitive price. It also offers superior resistance to deformation over standard conventional asphalt for withstanding heavy vehicular traffic.”
“At full capacity our new manufacturing line provides us with the ability to produce enough TonerPlas in a year to pave over 600 kilometres of two-lane road. That would contain the equivalent of 318 million pieces of post-consumer recycled soft plastic, and waste toner from over 7 million recycled toner cartridges”.
He added that policy changes in China had highlighted the importance of a local recycling industry and improved energy use across the design, use and reuse of products – a circular economy. “Our new manufacturing capacity to reuse soft plastics and toner into TonerPlas is a great example of what local companies can do”. Australia needs to coordinate and invest in infrastructure to build a viable recycling industry and divert problematic waste streams from landfill. The banning of single use plastic bags was a start, but doesn’t solve the challenge, especially as plastic bags account for less than two percent of all waste soft plastics.