Saturday, May 28, 2022

Innovative plastics sorting technology diverts waste from landfill and earns Queen’s Award

A division of Louth-based Luxus has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2022.

Colour Tone Masterbatch Ltd has patented technology that makes black plastics recyclable by allowing them to be sorted, saving an estimated 10,000 tonnes of plastic going to landfill so far.

Simon Atterby, General Manager at Colour Tone Masterbatch Ltd, said: “This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole team. The management of plastics is, without doubt, one of the greatest challenges we all face as we try to build a cleaner, greener future for the generations to come.”

Black plastic is mistakenly perceived by many consumers as a particular problem, due to it being regarded as single use and impossible to recycle. However, the polymer itself is perfectly recyclable, but when coloured in a traditional way, it could not be recognised by the near infra-red sorting equipment in post-consumer sorting facilities. That meant it went to landfill. Colour Tone recognised this and developed and patented a product which allows brand owners to continue to colour as they wish (including black) but via a colouring technology that is optimised for post-consumer sorting, therefore allowing the product to be identified and diverted from landfill and recycled. Added Simon: “It’s a sustainable solution for both black plastics and other products which would otherwise not have been sorted.”

Tony Gaukroger, one of the founders of Colour Tone and creators of the NIR product, said: “We recognised that a fundamental part of tackling the challenge was developing technology that enabled the effective recycling of black plastic, so we applied our years of experience and insight and invested significant time and resources into making it happen. We look forward to continuing to play our part in driving innovation and applying our specialist knowledge to build a cleaner, brighter future for our industry.”

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