A fire in June at a Close the Loop facility in Melbourne has disrupted the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark printer cartridge recycling program used by manufacturers including Canon, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta and Kyocera.


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 Environmental charity Planet Ark uses the Close the Loop factory in Melbourne where the fire broke out, affecting its ability to process some materials, including an additive and binding agent for asphalt known as TonerPlas.

Epson’s partnership with Close the Loop’s TonerPlas program has already seen more than seven tonnes of Canon toner waste reused to create Australian roads

Planet Ark originally said the fire resulted in 1.1 million cartridges being left in storage at the Melbourne warehouse but, in an update late last week, it said parts of the cartridges were still being recycled, with only a few components unable to be processed.

“There is ‘work in progress’ storage happening at Close the Loop, where various processes are continuing to be undertaken with regards to the cartridges collected,” Planet Ark said.

“What is currently not being undertaking is the machine recycling processes, specifically the components of cartridges that need to be crushed. This is printer consumables such as cartridges, ink jets, drum units and waste collectors, which are currently being stored awaiting further processing.”

Close the Loop chief executive officer Joe Foster told The Guardian he expected the facility to be up and running “within the next few months.

“We took immediate action at the time of the fire to keep taking cartridges in. We check them in, sort and send back to the original equipment manufacturer, harvest for parts and then recycle into plastics and metals as the last resort.”

He said that while the fire had hit TonerPlas production, other parts of the facility were running and it continued to process 16,000 printer parts a day. 

Since the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark program was launched, 51.7 million cartridges have been collected and 50.6 million of them have been recycled with zero waste to landfill.


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