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Luxus service tests for ‘end-of-life’ recyclability

2000 infrared luxus research

Technical compounder Luxus has launched a polymer analysis service to assist manufacturers concerned to improve recyclability of their packaging.

Brand owners, retailers and packaging producers can find out if their products can be detected via near-infrared (NIR) sorting.

Packaging from black shampoo bottles to yellow yogurt pots and brown coffee pods are analysed for ‘visibility’ using optical sorting methods.

Each year in the UK, 3.5 million tonnes of plastics go to landfill because black and coloured plastic cannot be detected by recyclers. These plastics feature carbon black and other pigments which strongly absorb infrared radiation so they offer little reflectance and are rendered ‘invisible’ to sensors.

The service offers the ability to assess quickly if any coloured plastic item can be detected and, if not, a colour-matched infrared-detectable alternative can be suggested.

Supporting the service is a new spectrophotometer capable of reading solar reflectance in the NIR spectrum. It enables the measurement of solar reflectance levels of colourants to ensure that specified polymers do not inhibit NIR sorting.

Peter Atterby, Luxus managing director, said the service was a “game changer” for brand owners and product designers.

“We are able to clearly identify pigment mixes given a NIR footprint and then expertly assess every possible colourant combination to meet the challenge of finding the closest and most economically viable colour match for designers, satisfying both aesthetic and plastics pollution concerns.”

A version of this article first appeared in Packaging News

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