Germany-based consumer goods firm Henkel, in collaboration with Ampacet, has developed a recyclable black plastic packaging.
The new packaging material is said to use an alternative carbon-free black color, allowing used bottles to be incorporated back into the value chain.
Henkel has used the new packaging material for black bottles of toilet cleaning products under the Bref brand, which will be launched this month.
Later, the new packaging will be introduced for other Henkel products during the course of this year.
Henkel Laundry & Home Care special detergents international packaging development head Vineet Varman said: “Recognizing that black bottles are one of the central challenges when it comes to recyclability of used packaging, we want to be part of the solution: The new material will contribute to closing the loop of plastic packaging in a sustainable way.
“Our joint development projects across all our three business units underline Henkel’s commitment to sustainable packaging and to drive progress toward a circular value chain.”
Recycling facilities will use near infra-red (NIR) technology for the detection of plastic materials to be recycled. The optical sensors deploy the reflection of light to identify the material and sort it accordingly.
Due to presence of carbon black, the black plastic packaging cannot be identified and sorted properly by these optical sensors.
Henkel and Ampacet are also engaged in the testing of new packaging for different products across business units and categories.
The suitability of the new material was confirmed through tests under real conditions, said Henkel.
Henkel also noted that Cyclos-HTP, an institute specialized in the classification, assessment and certification of recyclability of packaging and goods, certified that its bottles with this carbon-free black color are fully detectable and sortable.
The packaging development teams of the company are currently involved in the integration of the new material into additional packaging types to meet highest quality standards.
Ampacet moulding strategic business manager Philippe Hugelé said: “As part of our sustainability initiative, our REC-NIR-BLACK carbon-black free masterbatch provides a second life for black plastic packaging by allowing scanning by near-infrared technology for automated sorting at recovery facilities.”