Black plastic packaging materials pose a challenge for the recycling value chain on account of the colour used in them to date, as they cannot be properly identified and sorted by the optical sensors at waste sorting facilities.

Henkel has partnered with its supplier Ampacet, a global masterbatch producer, to implement a solution for fully recyclable black plastic packaging. The new packaging material is based on an alternative, carbon-free black colour, allowing used bottles to be returned to the value chain.

Greiner Packaging produces new plastic bottle

This new colour has been used for the first time in black plastic bottles produced by Greiner Packaging to contain Bref toilet cleaning products. The plastics experts tested the new material before giving it the green light. And not only is the material’s high quality perfectly suited to production needs, it also reflects Henkel’s and Greiner Packaging’s sustainability aspirations.

“We’re constantly working to improve product recyclability, so naturally we’re delighted to see innovations like this one from Henkel – and we’ll support our partners extensively on projects of this nature,” says Michael Frick, Global Key Account Director at Greiner Packaging. The new material from Henkel and Ampacet has already proven itself in test runs under real-world conditions. Cyclos-HTP – a German institute specializing in the classification, evaluation, and certification of packaging and product recyclability – has confirmed that the carbon-free black color is effective in undecorated bottles. Tests performed by Henkel also verified that the bottle is completely identifiable following removal of the perforated sleeve, which means it can be sorted from the waste stream and subsequently recycled. “In Greiner Packaging, we’re pleased to have found a competent project partner we’ve been able to work with to implement this innovative packaging concept. Being mindful of sustainability issues plays an essential role in our packaging development. In implementing our packaging strategy and our sustainability goals, we work closely together with partners that are as committed in their actions as we are,” stresses Colin Zenger, who is responsible for Sustainable Packaging Laundry & Homecare at Henkel.

“We’re proud to be working with Henkel on this innovation. In the push for a circular economy, it is important to us that we keep plastics out of the natural environment and circulating in our economy for as long as possible,” Frick concludes