Teaching Old Cartridges New Tricks – eWood

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 | Toner Cartridge Recycling | No Comments

Close the Loop in Australia has found a great way to recycle old and previously unrecycleable cartridges into something they call eWood. First let me explain that many cartridges can not be remanufactured, they are either too unreliable to be remanufactured or worn out. Before we ever sell a remanufactured toner cartridge, first we have to be able to provide a reliable product, and in many cases that just isn’t possible. In which case what do you do with the empty? Our goal is to keep it out of the landfill and if it can’t be re-used, then it has to be broken down into its base components and recycled. Recycling the metal components is easy, but the recycling the plastic is a problem.

Close the Loop has a process in which they shred the cartridge via the “Green Machine”, remove the metallic components (mostly steel and aluminum) then recycle the remaining plastic by transforming it into eWood. eWood is like Trex or other plastic decking a plastic wood that can be used for decking, park benches, fences, you name it. The big drawback to eWood as I see it is the wood comes out black. For most applications, black is not only ugly, it holds heat. As all cartridges are black, this is a problem. Furthermore it’s virtually impossible to pigment black plastic into anything more attractive. Still the fact that you took a toner cartridge bound for the landfill and transformed it into something useful like a bike path. The Simpson Gap Bike Path was constructed from eWood.


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