Close the Loop has unveiled a new manufacturing line in Melbourne capable of converting 200,000 tonnes of soft plastic and toner waste into an asphalt additive for roads.
The new facility has the potential to divert two thirds of Australia’s total 300,000 tonnes of soft plastic waste from landfill annually. The TonerPlas asphalt additive comprises the equivalent of 530,000 recycled plastic bags, 168,000 glass bottles and 12,000 recycled toner cartridges per every kilometre of two-lane road.
The company’s product has already been laid on roads in major Melbourne and Sydney hubs in conjunction with integrated services company Downer, with the line opening to commercial scale during National Recycling Week.
Close the Loop Chairman Craig Devlin said the company has been at the forefront of the circular economy for more than 17 years.
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“Our goal of zero waste to landfill has seen us partner with manufacturers through take-back programs across multiple sectors, including printer cartridges, cosmetics and batteries,” Mr Devlin said.
Mr Devlin said its TonerPlas asphalt additive 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 per cent, 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.”
He said 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 through a circular economy.
Mr Devlin said Australia’s recycling industry needs to invest in future waste solutions with greater infrastructure research to meet problematic landfill demands.
“Our new manufacturing capacity to reuse soft plastics and toner into TonerPlas is a great example of what local companies can do. However, Australia needs to coordinate and invest in infrastructure to build a viable recycling industry,” Mr Delvin said.
“Banning plastic bags is a start, but it doesn’t solve the challenge”.