One of the problems long plaguing recyclers has been that of black plastic packaging waste. Most black plastic packaging is coloured using carbon black pigments, which creates a problem for the optical sorting systems that are commonly used in plastics recycling. Carbon black is not detectable by near-infrared (NIR) optical sorting equipment, because it does not allow the light to pass through.
As a result, black plastic packaging commonly ends up as residue waste and is disposed of in landfill or recycled into lower value materials where polymer sorting is not required.
Prompted by demand from the market Ampacet, a global producer of colours and additives, set itself the task of solving this challenge. The solution it came up with - REC-NIR-BLACK - was recognized with the PRSE Product Technology Innovation Award at this year’s PRSE event in Amsterdam this week.