Close the Loop says it will once again have a solution for soft plastics beyond landfill, as its new TonerPlas 2.0 processing line will be commissioned in December, at a new facility in Reservoir.
The company says its launch of the new TonerPlas line will provide a much-needed transitional phase solution for both consumers and industry, to restart soft plastics collection and recycling. TonerPlas is an asphalt improvement additive that is created from a mix of reclaimed toner powder and post-consumer soft plastic waste. The product has already been used in multiple council road projects and major freeway upgrades in Victoria, as a lower environmental impact, higher performance binder compared to standard asphalt.
The company anticipates this will continue to increase, as brands shift into simpler sustainable packaging structures in-line with the incoming mandatory regulations, which will increase the ability to further recover materials and find new markets for recycled-content products and packaging.
Closing the loop on soft plastic
According to the company, closing the loop on soft plastic packaging has been a challenge in the past, due to complex materials used for flexible packaging formats, and the limited use for these materials at end of life, which created an unbalanced supply versus demand, that ultimately led to the collapse of the previous return to store recycling system.
Steve Morris, head of Circulatory at Close the Loop, said, “The new line will be operating at one tonne per hour in our new factory in Reservoir by the end of the year, giving us four to five times the capacity of our old line. We will continue to manufacture both TonerPlas and rFlex, a product to replace virgin plastic in injection moulding applications like wheelie bins, shipping pallets, tubs, crates, and shopping trolleys.”
Close the Loop says it is investing further in locally made, post-consumer recycled content packaging films for non-food grade applications.
As a packaging manufacturer and supplier, as well as recycling business, Close the Loop says it is actively working at the start of the supply chain with brand owners, to design-out waste, and simplify packaging meet APCO guidelines, and to assist with better recycling outcomes. It says as recycled content becomes a key aspect of packaging design, and consumers are holding brands to higher standards for sustainability, the industry will benefit from the restart of soft plastic recycling as soon as possible.
Close the Loop says it will be involved as key recycling partner for the next iteration of return to store programmes, and is involved in gradual roll-out of soft plastics collection schemes at kerbside. The company has already been proactive in forming direct agreements with certain councils, such as Bendigo Council, which will provide its soft plastic waste to Close the Loop, and in return buy-back TonerPlas for use in community road projects.
Joe Foster, CEO of Close the Loop Group, said, “The commitment of people across the supply chain for reuse of recycled materials is paramount for driving a circular economy, especially when the recycled content product performs as well or better than the existing virgin counterpart, like TonerPlas does. It’s a great solution for complex, contaminated materials that would otherwise go to landfill, however with the shift towards more sustainable packaging design, we can expand end markets and get more recycled content back into packaging again.”