The innovative new asphalt mix uses recycled materials including toner from discarded printer cartridges and is warmed at temperatures significantly lower than regular asphalt, meaning it takes less energy to produce.
The City is using the product combined with other sustainable techniques to resurface sections of road across the city centre, Burton Street in Darlinghurst and Watkin and Church streets in the inner west.
The City’s construction services manager Andrew Christie said the asphalt blend can reduce emissions by 40 per cent compared to conventional asphalt.
“The City uses around 6,000 tonnes of asphalt mix for road resurfacing every year,” Mr Christie said. “This new mix is created using a range of recycled materials and then heated at temperatures 20 to 50 degrees lower than regular asphalt.
“Paving roads with recycled materials is part of the City’s push to reduce our carbon footprint and recycle as much as we possibly can – keeping waste such as printer toner out of landfill. Landfill sites produce huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas with 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
“We resurface around 50,000 square metres of asphalt road in the City every year. Using these new technologies and methods we can significantly reduce the amount of energy used in production. The finished product is just as strong as regular asphalt pavement – but our residents will now be driving on roads made with recycled printer toner.”
Lord Mayor Clove Moore said cities use over two thirds of the world’s energy and emit more than 70 per cent of emissions.
“If we’re serious about tackling climate change we need to take action in our cities as this gives us the greatest opportunity for slashing carbon emissions,” the Lord Mayor said.
“It’s really great to see innovative ideas being used across our city to recycle waste into valuable resources.
“The recycled cartridges are saved from landfill. Around 20,000 tonnes of cartridge waste has been recycled in asphalt across Australia since the initiative began in 2012.”
TonerPave technology was used in the mix and was developed by the City’s road contractor, Downer EDI Limited (Downer) in partnership with cartridge recycling company, Close the Loop.
Downer’s CEO Infrastructure Services, Sergio Cinerari, said Downer incorporated the unique process within its asphalt manufacturing, using toner powder which contains comparable particles to that of asphalt.
“The use of printer toner in the asphalt mix reduces the amount of bitumen, which is derived from crude oil,” Mr Cinerari said.
“We work closely with Close the Loop who collect and recycle huge quantities of toner cartridges for large printer and copier companies. The cartridges are then shredded for recycling and the toner powder comes to us to be made into TonerPave at our Rosehill plant.”
The City was Australia’s first-carbon neutral council and has a long-term target of reducing its carbon emissions by 70 per cent.
A range of measures have been introduced to achieve this including planting thousands of trees, introducing energy-efficient LED lighting, installing solar panels across buildings, retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency, and harvesting and treating stormwater.