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Canon starts project using waste toner for asphalt

August 26, 2022

Canon Virginia, Inc. (CVI) announced a partnership with local company Basic Construction Co. 

CVI is undertaking activities to reduce environment impact by developing initiatives throughout the entire product life cycle. The Recycled Toner Pellet (RTP) project was the result of an activity to find a use for waste toner by pelletising the material and using it in asphalt for local roadways.

“We are driven by Canon’s commitment to our corporate philosophy “Kyosei, living and working together for the common good,” said Masato Mori, Vice President for CVI. “The focus is on reducing environmental impact, Basic Construction shares this commitment, which made this project successful for our community.”

CVI’s subsidiary, Canon Environmental Technologies (CETI), in Gloucester, is Canon’s largest toner cartridge recycling centre in the world with a mission of not only to increasing Canon’s product recycling efforts, but also to foster a recycling-oriented society, reduce Canon’s environmental impact through greater management efficiency and embrace green technologies, canon explained.

Basic Construction Co. auger machine moves Canon Virginia, Inc. Recycled Toner Pellets (RTP) to feeder belt and is dropped onto Basic’s Recycled Asphalt Pavement feeder belt.

The Recycled Toner Pellet process begins when CETI receives returned toner cartridges from consumers. Cartridges are sorted by material type, automatically disassembled, or processed to recover base materials, including toner. Plastic is repelletised for use in Canon’s new cartridges. Metals are recycled through outside partners, but toner is shipped to Newport News for CVI to begin the pelletisation process.

“Sustainability is really part of CVI’s DNA,” said Thomas Keegan, Vice President of Manufacturing Engineering.  “After developing the recycling process for the majority of the plastic in the toner cartridges, our engineers and technicians were committed to finding a solution and creating a process for the waste toner. Ten years ago, we didn’t have the environmental movement that we have now.  Canon has been a leader in taking responsibility for the products that we produce and making sure that, from cradle to grave, they were dealt with in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Canon Virginia’s relationship with Basic Construction Co. began when they were asked to test the RTP as a colorant and binding agent. After the initial test, Basic is now purchasing 100% of toner pellets produced at CVI and using it as an additive to their asphalt mixes.

“Canon is a dream collaboration and customer,” said Chad Pritchard, Sales and Quality Assurance at Basic Construction. “I’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback from pavers and customers. It’s good to have good working relationships and I am so pleased we got here.”

The testing and approval process took several years, however, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has now authorised the use of toner pellets in Basic Construction Company’s asphalt mixes, which allows for the possibility of new business creation in the future.

Our take on this: Using toner powder in asphalt has been done for many years, pioneered by Close the Loop in Australia, called TonerPlas. Europe seems somewhat behind in new options for use of waste toner powder. If Europe is going to embrace increased reuse now is the time to collaborate and have a useful and lasting solution to the waste toner issue. 

Categories : Around the Industry

Tags : Asphalt Canon Virginia Pellets Recycling Toner

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