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ASTUTE 2020 Update September 2020

Here at ASTUTE 2020, we can support your business throughout this period of uncertainty. Our world-class academics and technical experts from across our strong Welsh Universities partnership are available to support you through research and innovation activities. If you wish to discuss opportunities for working with us e.g. to modify your production to develop solutions to support the fight against COVID-19, you can contact us via email.


Brother Industries (U.K.) Ltd. Introduces Toner Cartridges Produced Using Recycled Materials from End-Of-Life Products Thanks to Industry-Academia Collaboration

Brother Industries (U.K.) Ltd. Introduces Toner Cartridges Produced Using Recycled Materials from End-Of-Life Products Thanks to Industry-Academia Collaboration


North Wales-based manufacturer and supplier of printing consumables, Brother Industries (U.K.) Ltd. has started production on their first “new” Brother-branded toner cartridges with frames moulded using 100% recycled material, thanks to an industry-academia collaboration.

With “end of life” products in mind; As the Recycling Technology Centre (RTC) for the global Brother Group, Brother Industries (U.K.) Ltd. is adopting the principles of ‘Circular Economy’, placing the business at the forefront as an ethical and sustainable manufacturing of products.

The EU-Funded ASTUTE 2020 operation lead by Swansea University has provided industrial Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) support to enhance Brother’s use of recycled plastic materials in toner cartridges. 

With world-class academics at Swansea University and a team of highly qualified technical experts, ASTUTE 2020 supported the Brother team in investigating the technical difficulties of using recycled materials. The research conducted was based on closed-loop recycling systems.

Brother Industries (U.K.) Ltd. has been remanufacturing toner cartridges since 2004. For closed-loop recycling, Brother receives toner cartridges back at the end-of-life and remanufactures them into cartridges with the same exacting quality standards as new cartridges.  Those cartridges that cannot be remanufactured are stripped. Component parts are reused where possible. The frames are then granulated and used as raw materials to mould new products.

ASTUTE 2020’s extensive expertise in advanced materials focused their research on the effects of multiple cycles of recycling plastic, the upcycling of the material, the impact of mixing different materials from a range of manufacturers (of the same grade material) and batch-to-batch quality control.

Brother Industries (U.K.) Ltd. has confirmed that production and quality tests have been carried out on new recycled toner cartridges, meeting the company's established quality standards. Cartridges using frames produced from 100% recycled material are now in production. A direct environmental impact of this collaboration is the reduction of raw material usage with consequent energy-saving and reduced CO2 emissions from manufacturing and landfill. This contributes to Government targets, the Paris Agreement and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Brother Industries (U.K.) Ltd., Quality & Environmental Manager, Julian Cooper, said:

“As part of the Brother Group, we are committed to minimising our environmental impact, providing the best working conditions for our employees and making a positive contribution to the communities where we work. Collaborating with the ASTUTE 2020 team based at Swansea University on our first industry-academia collaboration has strengthened the profile of Brother’s Recycling Technology Centre as well as the company’s long term strategy to operate in North Wales.”

 Professor Johann Sienz, ASTUTE 2020’s Operation Director, said: 

“This collaboration with Brother Industries (U.K.) Ltd.  has highlighted how effective and productive an industry-academia partnership can be to help the manufacturing industry in Wales stay competitive and innovative. This is a critical time for identifying and exploiting new and existing opportunities and for driving cutting-edge research and innovation for Wales’ global success.”

The ASTUTE 2020 (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) operation, supporting manufacturing companies across Wales, has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and the participating Higher Education Institutions.