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Materials Recovery

Closing the Loop

Zero waste

Close the Loop is driven by a philosophy of zero waste.

CtL has pursued the ‘zero waste’ philosophy since inception. On the basis of our proven expertise, you can be assured that 100% of every inkjet cartridge, toner cartridge or toner bottle deposited in one of our collection boxes will be reused or recycled. We continue to lead the electronics recycling industry away from the waste industry mentality of single use and the need to mine ever more resources.

We focuses our energy on identifying and then commercially proving potential applications for even the most difficult materials.

How do we do it? By designing a materials hierarchy that incorporates closed material loops, and by helping manufacturers design for the environment.

Each day across our two facilities (Australia and USA) we keep over 48.6 tonnes of material out of landfill. We recover irreplaceable resources that are used to make a new generation of products whilst achieving tonnes of carbon savings every day.

More on the principles of “Zero Waste”

Materials hierarchy and closed materials loops

The typical waste hierarchy refers to the 3Rs; reduce, reuse and recycle. However the reality is that most people are reluctant to reduce their use of things. Reuse is still relatively uncommon. Recycling rates have improved over time and in the developed world between 40% and 75 % of waste is now recycled. That still leaves considerable quantities to be disposed of in landfill.

 

CTL Materials Recovery Hierarchy 2013 495 px

In designing our ink cartridge recycling and toner cartridge recycling programs, Close the Loop took a quantum leap and completely re-engineered the waste hierarchy to suit our class leading business practices and values. Close the Loop is NOT a waste management business. We are a zero waste materials recovery business and as such traditional waste hierarchies are not suitable tools to measure our performance. For example, disposal or landfill is not an option for us. We view waste as a resource and therefore have a “materials recovery hierarchy”.

Reuse sees entire items or their component parts reused with minimal processing. For example; to re manufacture a toner cartridge requires little in the way of additional energy and materials to produce, and for some manufacturers is the most desirable way of managing their old cartridges. Unfortunately most ink and toner cartridges are not designed with reuse in mind, so CtL is working with manufacturers to help them design products that can easily be reused.

Closed material loops are where a raw material used to produce a product is collected at end of life and recovered for reuse in the next generation of the same product. In other words, printer cartridges are recycled into new printer cartridges.

This is another area where Close the Loop helps manufacturers design products that allow materials to be more easily recovered so we can recycle printer cartridges back into the same type of product.

Engineered products are higher-value products made from recycled materials. Our pens, rulers and flexographic ink are good examples. Recycling ink cartridges into different products doesn’t create a closed loop on its own. However, our pens and rulers are fully recyclable through our collection system, creating a new closed loop of their own.

Commodity loops aren’t closed at a product level, but at a commodity level. They see valuable materials recovered and used again and again for a variety of uses. Metal and glass recycling are major types of commodity loops.

eWood is a wood substitute made from contaminated mixed plastics, mostly recovered from recycling toner cartridges. Materials are diverted from their original use and the mixed nature of the plastic reduces its economic value. However eWood is a durable product with its own appeal. As well as keeping waste out of landfill, it sees recycled products helping to save forests from harvesting.

Waste to energy applies to the smallest fraction arising from our materials recovery process. There are just some contaminated parts of a product that cannot be reclaimed, these are the fractions that are sent to W2E. Although some materials are lost from future use, we manage to recover some of the energy that went into their production. It is worth understanding that W2E is achieved through the use of Cement Kilns where no residual is created unlike a High Temperature Incinerator which still requires the burnt materials or ash to be sent to landfill.  W2E is a last resort solution for Close the Loop to ensure our brand promise of Zero Waste to Landfill is upheld.  Our company wide KPI is <10% to W2E annually.

Our focus is on ensuring that we can use more materials in the higher levels of the hierarchy. Click here to see how we recycle ink cartridges, toner cartridges and toner bottles and the output streams we generate.

Closing the Loop

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Materials recovered

36,506 Tonnes

by Close the Loop.

Weighs as much as 12,170 hippos

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