Linpac Packaging has helped stop black plastic packaging being sent to landfill or incineration.
Working alongside Wrap, Nextek, Sharpak and Faerch Plast, Linpac developed a plastics colourant that can be detected by near infrared (NIR) technology. Previously recyclers had not be able to separate out black plastics from a mixed plastics waste stream and as a result much of it went into landfill or for incineration.
The black colourant allows NIR spectroscopy to sort black plastic packaging waste, such as pots, tubs and trays, by polymer type so they can be recycled into high quality materials. The colourant works in APET, CPET, PP, HDPE, PS and PVC.
Alan Davey, director of innovation at Linpac, said: “The new colourants mean that black packaging, such as meat trays, can now be automatically detected and recovered so that they can be used in new applications as substitutes for virgin plastics. Additionally they offer improvements in recycling revenues as well as savings in carbon emissions and landfill volumes.”
There are approximately one million tonnes of rigid mixed plastic packaging in the UK waste stream and black plastic packaging could represent between 3-6% of this volume, according to Linpac. Conservative industry estimates indicate that this could be around 26,000 - 30,000 tonnes per annum of black plastic packaging.