A large pile of ice cubes has been arranged on a metal surface. On top of it are two ice cream scoopers in amongst various black ice cream tubs with Diplom-IS Royal branding. Some of the boxes have been opened to reveal the ice cream inside.

Berry Superfos has provided its new non-carbon black colour containers to Diplom-IS for the tubs packaging its Royal ice cream brand, apparently ensuring their recyclability.

Reportedly, Near Infra-Red (NIR) scanners can detect non-carbon black packaging, unlike its carbon counterpart. As such, the new colour containers are thought to allow dark packaging to be identified and sorted for the purposes of recycling.

Anne-Lene Molland, communications manager at Diplom-Is, said: “We are always on the lookout for more sustainable and affordable packaging solutions for our products so when we got the opportunity to switch our premium ice cream brand Royal to non-carbon black containers, the choice was easy.

“We are very satisfied with the result. The new black enables proper sorting of Royal ice cream containers at local recycling and sorting facilities, which can save significant amounts of virgin plastic material. We have been very thorough in our approach by successfully testing the non-carbon black containers at two local recycling plants in Norway, as well as at a sorting plant in Germany.

“We get a lot of positive feedback and have raised awareness of the challenges with the colour black for packaging through articles and social media. We believe these initiatives may encourage others to switch to non-carbon black for packaging.”

She added: “Our choice of Berry Superfos for packaging supplier is first of all a question of getting the right quality. Another advantage is their capability to follow up quickly and make any necessary improvements to the packaging; for example, to optimise the workflow in our production. We also give the Berry Superfos team a thumbs-up for their professionalism, reliability and for being easy to work with.”

The colour containers are similar to REC-NIR-BLACK, a brand of black alternative masterbatch solutions designed by Ampacet and Pellenc ST to be compatible with current mechanical recycling technology.

Greif, Inc. also utilised an alternative black colour in its jerrycan lids – once again thought to be carbon-free and therefore recognisable to NIR scanners.

On another note, Huhtamaki’s ICON paper packaging technology, designed first and foremost for ice cream tubs and lids, features QR codes linking to educational resources, aiming to increase sustainable behaviour amongst consumers.