Canon Transforms Consumers’ Leftover Ink Into Roadway Asphalt
By Mikelle Leow, 26 Aug 2022
Printer ink, as it appears, isn’t just for paper; it can line roads too. Canon Virginia, which produces some of Canon’s office and consumer products, has been exploring new uses for waste toner for a few years. Now, it’s accelerating forward with a road-legal idea.
The company had been looking to limit its environmental footprint, and turned to Virginia-based Basic Construction for help. The two firms learned that there was more use they could squeeze out of Canon’s unwanted printer ink, and that it could be used for asphalt to build roadways.
Together, they developed a method to pelletize waste toner and drive their vision home. The Recycled Toner Pellet process starts at the largest Canon cartridge recycling hub in the world, Canon Environmental Technologies (CETI), which collects returned toner cartridges from customers and sorts them by material type. The sets are then taken apart and broken down into their base materials.
The plastic from the returned units is repurposed to make new cartridges, and the metal is sent to third-party plants to be recycled.
The toner portion, as you know, is set aside to be converted by Canon Virginia and Basic Construction into asphalt pellets.
After a successful test to reuse the processed printer ink as a colorant and binding agent for roadways, Basic Construction now buys 100% of Canon Virginia’s waste toner and adds it into its asphalt mixtures.
The formula has been approved for public use by the Virginia Department of Transportation, so locals could be zipping around more printer-ink roads in their cars pretty soon.
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