As the importance of industrial composting as an end-of-life solution for plastic products grows, so does the need for a new kind of additive.
Plastics that are certified industrially compostable must meet the requirements of EN 13432, the European standard for industrial composting. Additives which could affect the composting performance of these resins can therefore not be used. This also includes certain pigments and colourants.
“The regulation EN 13432 treats pigments as additives and as such they are obliged not to hinder the industrial composting process”, says Lindy Lin, senior Commercial Industry Manager for Plastics at Colors & Effects.
Colors & Effects, the BASF brand for the global pigment business, has therefore developed a special portfolio of high-purity pigments for compostable plastics and printing inks. The selection is based on the evaluation of the pigment composition according to the requirements of the European standard.
Andreas Kleinhenz, senior Technical Marketing and Development Manager for Printing and Specialties at Colors & Effects, explained how the right pigment chemistry supports a product’s overall compliance with compost purity limits.
“It is a relevant factor enabling that the remains of compostable packaging stay within the EN 13432 regulation limits, including the printing ink on its surface. Relevant components include for example volatile matter, heavy metal and fluorine.”
According to BASF, pigments will be a growth business in the coming years. The outlook for high- performance colour and effect pigments is especially good. For this reason BASF is building a new purposed designed finished goods warehouse and distribution centre for its Color&Effects brand.
Located in the industrial area in Ladenburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, a mere 20 km from Ludwigshafen, it will be one of the world's largest central pigment warehouses, with sufficient space to cover the expected volume growth in the coming years. The new building is scheduled to open during the first half of 2021.