Improving Design to Increase Recycling Rates

Masterbatch NIR-detectable black

Black plastic is appealing to consumers and is widely used in food and personal care packaging. While this material can be recycled, it is often sent to landfill because automatic optical sorting systems used to separate post-consumer plastic waste cannot detect the color. 

Automatic optical sorting systems utilize near-infrared (NIR) light which is absorbed by the black pigment, making the plastic invisible to the sorter. Many mechanical recycling facilities will not accept the material or it will be discarded as waste.

To solve this problem, LyondellBasell introduced an NIR-detectable black pigment to our range of masterbatch colors, making increased recycling of food containers, personal care bottles and other consumer packaging possible.

By making more plastics with NIR-detectable black pigment, LyondellBasell can better serve the needs of product designers and supply chain managers, while increasing recyclability.