Sukano, a global masterbatch specialist for PET, PLA and specialty resins, has been certified according to the COTREP recyclability test protocol and will be featured in the CITEO positive list. This gives brand owners a documented ‘end of life’ alternative as it ensures the sorting and recycling of black PET products while supporting their recycling goals.
Collection and sorting are two critical drivers that prevent PET trays, tubes and pots from being sent for recycling. While collection improvements should be addressed at the municipal level, industry can support the common goal of a circular economy by improving sorting and recycling, states Sukano. To recycle plastic packaging, plastic waste is pre-sorted at recycling facilities. In most recycling facilities, this is done by automated sorting technologies using near-infrared (NIR) optical sorters. One key limitation to near-infrared optical sorting is its inability to identify and separate plastics that contain carbon black, the most commonly used black pigment. This is because carbon black absorbs a significant amount of ultraviolet and infrared spectrum light, preventing the reflection of infrared light back to the sensor – and consequently blocking the recognition by an NIR scan. As a result, black PET end applications are not massively recycled today.
The industry has been exploring ways to improve the recyclability of black plastic articles. One major step forward is creating NIR-detectable black, which would ensure the ability to sort – and therefore recycle – any black packaging or end-application. Sukano’s newly formulated Sukano NIR-Black detectable and certified Masterbatch has now been tested by the authorised sorting equipment manufacturing companies according to the COTREP protocol. COTREP is an operational technical committee created by Citeo, Elipso, and Valorplast. It assists manufacturers in the development of recyclable plastic packaging solutions in France.
“Our equipment obtained a very good efficiency in sorting on both trays tested, clear PET and black detectable PET using MB from Sukano,” confirms Eric Westerhoff, Sales Director Plastics Recycling from Pellenc ST.
Once packaging has been positively tested according to the COTREP protocol, the product is listed in the CITEO positive list, which will soon be launched. CITEO works to reduce the environmental impact of household packaging and paper by transforming them into new resources. Among the advantages of products being tested by COTREP and listed by CITEO is an exemption from the malus fee in France.