UK technical plastics compounder Luxus has launched a rapid coloured polymer analysis service that tests for ‘end-of-life' recyclability.
The company announced 13 Feb that the service can enable producers to discover if the plastic packaging or products they make can be detected via near-infrared (NIR) sorting.
According to Luxus, each year in the UK 3.5m tonnes of plastics go to landfill because black and coloured plastic cannot be detected by recyclers.
Since these plastics feature carbon black and other pigments which strongly absorb infrared radiation, offering little reflectance that renders them ‘invisible' to sensors.
The new Luxus service will ensure that products are ‘designed for recyclability'.
“This unique service offers the ability to quickly assess if any coloured plastic item produced can be detected and if not, we will offer a colour matched infrared detectable alternative,” explained Peter Atterby, managing director, Luxus
Brand owners, retailers and packaging producers will be able to ensure that anything from black shampoo bottles to yellow yogurt pots and brown coffee pods can be analysed to find out if they are ‘visible' via optical sorting methods.
Supporting this “game-changing” service is a new spectrophotometer capable of reading solar reflectance in the NIR spectrum.
According to Luxus, the device enables the measurement of solar reflectance levels of colourants to ensure that specified polymers do not inhibit near-infrared sorting.
The spectrophotometer is also pivotal to NIRSort, a new €1.47m two year project, co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme that aims to tackle our wider plastics waste problem.
The project partners include Polykemi and One51, which aim to bring to market a new range of infra-red reflecting (IRR) colourants for packaging and other applications, such as household electrical appliances and automotive components.
The initial materials trials for the NIRSort project will be completed in the spring this year.