Black, plastic, and fully recyclable
Together with its supplier Ampacet, a global provider of masterbatch, Henkel is developing a new solution for black plastic packaging that is fully recyclable. According to the partners, the new packaging material uses an alternative carbon-free black color, enabling used bottles to be integrated back into the value chain. It is to be introduced for black bottles of toilet cleaning products under the Bref brand.
Black bottles are said to be one of the central challenges when it comes to recyclability of used packaging. „The new material will contribute to closing the loop of plastic packaging in a sustainable way,” says Vineet Varman, Head of International Packaging Development for Special Detergents at Henkel Laundry & Home Care.
Solution for recyclability
Recycling facilities use near infra-red (NIR) technology to identify the plastic materials to be recycled. The optical sensors utilize the reflection of light to detect the material and sort it accordingly. Black plastic packaging, however, due to presence of carbon black cannot be identified and sorted properly by these optical sensors.
According to the companies, tests under real conditions confirmed the suitability of the new material. Cyclos-HTP, an institute specialized in the classification, assessment and certification of recyclability of packaging and goods reportedly certified that the bottles with this carbon-free black color are fully detectable and sortable. The manufacturer, by its own account, is now working on integrating the new material into additional packaging types.
Packaging targets by 2025
The company aims that all of its packaging become recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. In addition to this, the share of recycled plastic should be increased to 35 percent for the consumer goods products in Europe by 2025. In order to achieve these targets, the company reportedly is engaged in several partnerships and cross-industry initiatives, e.g. the New Plastics Economy (NPEC), the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) and the social enterprise Plastic Bank.