Business & Industry

Apr 28, 2018

RECYCLE, REUSE, REPAVE

E-waste is a chronical and global pollution problem. Reports from the United Nations University show that only 20 per cent of generated e-waste, is then disposed in official recycling programs

By JORGE MATIAS

Unofficially, these numbers can be a little higher, as electronic consumable companies have their own programs for recollection of cartridges, ink and toners. Some of these programs serve the purpose of recycling these cartridges, while others only increase the volume of true electronic products dumps.

It is known that in these dumps, inhabit huge communities who dedicate to recollecting and splitting the components produced from valuable materials, such as copper and gold. What represents another problem, as these products can be armful for health when not treated with the proper care and precautions (many times, recurring to primary procedures, such as the burning of cables for the recollection of the remaining copper, what involve the breathing of highly toxic fumes), adding that in most cases, these tasks are performed by children.

Thankfully, awareness related to this global issue has been growing and has been able to find in some more environmental committed companies, a major support.

Recently, the Japanese consumables and equipment manufacturer Toshiba announced that in 2017 they hit the recycling of toner cartridges record: 228 metric tons of used toner.

For this reason, in an unprecedented initiative, the Japanese hardware giant (to whom allied Lexmark and Kyocera) joined the Australian infrastructure company Downer, in order to produce at large scale a product called TonerPave.

TonerPave consists on a mix of printer toner, wax, minerals, iron oxide, silica and acrylic paint waste. According to the first test from Downer (in Sydney, 2010), the mix is perfect to reduce cases of asphalt cracking and sinking, it is more lasting and, furthermore, helps reducing e-waste gathering, offering it a new purpose.

As result from these tests, the city of Sydney has already recycled more than 20 thousand tons of toner cartridges since 2012.

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