A Queensland Council is road-testing new road surfaces, including a product made from used toner cartridges.
Noosa Shire Council Director of Planning and Infrastructure Martin Drydale says there are several innovations the council was investigating as part of this year’s re-seal and rehabilitation program.
“There are various alternatives to traditional asphalt that promise environmental benefits, making them well worth a look,” Drydale says.
“One such product is manufactured using old toner cartridges from printers, these being combined with recycled car tyres. If successful, each kilometre of paving would potentially avert thousands of plastic cartridges from ending up in landfill.
“Another asphalt product is poured at a lower temperature, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Plus we will continue to look for opportunities to reclaim our old asphalt and recycle it."
Used toner cartridges are already being trialled and used on roads around Australia.
City of Sydney is trailing a product called TonerPave, which was developed by Downer in partnership with cartridge recycling company, Close the Loop.
“We work closely with Close the Loop who collect and recycle huge quantities of toner cartridges for large printer and copier companies," Downer’s CEO Infrastructure Services, Sergio Cinerari says.
"The cartridges are then shredded for recycling and the toner powder comes to us to be made into TonerPave at our Rosehill plant."
TonerPave asphalt has also been laid by numerous Melbourne councils, and is being trailed in Canberra.
The benefits to using printer toner asphalt mix include:
- Saving energy – the printer toner mix is warmed 20 to 50 degrees lower than regular asphalt, taking significantly less energy to produce.
- Reducing landfill – reusing printer toner in roads means fewer cartridges end up in landfill. Approximately 20,000 tonnes of cartridge waste has been recycled in asphalt across Australia since the initiative began in 2012.
- Reducing crude oil in roads – using printer toner in the asphalt mix reduces the amount of bitumen, which is derived from crude oil.
Read more about the business case for using recycled materials in roads.