Carbon black-free masterbatches for IR-detectable packaging
The recyclability of plastics is a current topic, as a result of the amendments to the German Packaging Ordinance. We have adapted our product portfolio to enable an increasingly higher percentage of colored packaging to be recycled. Almost every color can be formulated to be free of carbon black.
Why carbon black-free? While carbon black pigments have not disturbed the previous recycling process, the new sorting lines are based on automated sorting systems using NIR (Near Infrared) detection. The so-called NIR sensor distinguishes between plastic grades, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester and various other common packaging plastics.
If, however, the colored plastic parts contain carbon black, the NIR rays are absorbed and therefore cannot be properly detected or distinguished from one another.
Research & development
In developing this new masterbatch series, we tested high-quality inorganic ingredients from various manufacturers. During product development, the main focus was on achieving the greatest possible color depth in the black range and enhancing competitiveness. However, carbon black is not only an issue in blackening. Many masterbatches contain carbon black in certain colorations and therefore fall through the sorting grid.
In view of the resulting requirements, we have already reformulated and successfully recreated some products from our portfolio both in preparation and at the request of our customers.