Recycle-ability of Black Plastic Packaging

Can we or cant we recycle black plastic?

Up until now there has been confusion about whether black plastic could be recycled and there has been a disparity between councils. The problem stems from the way black plastic reflects light, the majority of black plastic packaging is coloured using carbon black pigments which absorb light instead of reflecting it making it invisible to the sorting systems in the recycling plants.

WRAP have been working with manufacturers to resolve this issue and are encouraging companies to use a detectable black colourant that enables the polymer to be detected by optical sorting systems. So far the uptake has been slow and and inconsistent and WRAP is unfortunately recommending that black plastics go in the general waste instead of being recycled.

We will keep you informed of any developments.

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