A near-infrared (NIR) reflective masterbatch has been launched by Gabriel-Chemie that uses special pigment formulations to enable the sorting and recycling of black or coloured plastics.

The food contact approved masterbatch can be extruded, blown or moulded by injection or compression, and are also laser markable. Products made using the masterbatch are said to have no lower mechanical properties than those made by carbon black based materials.

“Our masterbatch solutions can be produced applying the ISO norms 9001, 14000 (environmental management), 22000 (food contact materials) and even 13485 (medical devices),” said corporate brand manager Diego Karpeles.

Plastics recycling in the EU is reported to have increased by almost 80 per cent since 2006, while landfill disposal has declined by 43 per cent. However, until now detecting or sorting machines have generally struggled to identify many black and coloured plastics items.