Background

Each year 13,000 kilometres of Australia's paved roads are resurfaced. This is mostly done by Australia's 537 local councils (suburban roads) or eight state-based road transit authorities (highways). Policy changes in China created a local recycling crisis in Australia with waste stockpiling and increased recycling costs for ratepayers and councils. Around 300,000 tonnes of soft plastic were being sent to landfill in Australia annually.

Creating a new product - TonerPlas

Australian recycling company Close the Loop is better known for its recycling of printer cartridges. However, the company used the soft plastics recycling crisis as an opportunity to create an innovative asphalt additive utilising valuable waste material. Naming it "TonerPlas", this additive can be added to asphalt to make a better-quality road. TonerPlas contains the equivalent of 530,000 recycled plastic bags, toner from more than 12,000 recycled printer cartridges and 168,000 glass bottles in every lkm stretch of road (two lanes). Aside from environmental benefits, the additive creates a superior road with a 60 percent improvement in fatigue life over conventional asphalt. It can also be recycled and used as asphalt again.

Challenge