NIR technology comes to CPET

Packaging company Faerch Plast has developed a black crystalline polyethylene (CPET) that can be detected by near infrared (NIR) light technology, which can aid recycling.

According to the company, the new packaging is set to revolutionise the packaging and recycling industries as it will enable recyclers to sort black CPET in the mixed plastics waste stream.

The new packaging has been developed in conjunction with stakeholders WRAP, Nextek, Titech and Eurofins, as well as leading supermarket retailers. Faerch Plast claims it is the first of its kind.

Faerch Plast senior manager Jesper Emil Jensen said: "Faerch Plast continually conducts research into the raw materials it uses and, during the past 12 months, the business has been heavily involved in a project aimed at making black trays more recyclable.

"Until now, recycling of black CPET has not been possible as it cannot be detected by the NIR sensors used by most recyclers. It has been a complicated project because the current pigment is both good at what it does and is also the cheapest form of black available on the market."

The company is working towards being a zero waste organisation and currently uses 99% of its raw materials directly in the manufacturing process, while sending the rest for recycling or energy recovery.

Since 1997, Faerch Plast has added 33 environmental and energy projects, which have been designed to reduce the environmental impact the company has, as well as its production costs. These projects have resulted in energy savings of 21m kWh a year, which correlates to the annual electricity consumption of 4,700 households.

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