In a move set to revolutionise the plastics packaging and recycling industries, Denmark-based Færch Plast A/S (tel: 020 8254 2300; www.faerchplast.com) has developed a black CPET (crystalline polyethylene) material that can be detected by Near InfraRed (NIR) sensors. This significant move will enable recyclers to sort black CPET in the mixed plastics waste stream, for the first time ever!
Faerch Plast – one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of high performance plastic packaging for the food industry – developed the new black CPET in conjunction with stakeholders WRAP, Nextek, Titech, Eurofins and leading UK supermarket retailers.
Jesper Emil Jensen, Senior Manager at Færch Plast A/S comments: "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 can’t 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.
Jesper concludes: "However, I am delighted to report that after considerable testing and trials using different dyes and pigments we now have a ‘World First’ recyclable solution that is cost effective, aesthetically pleasing and functional."
Faerch Plast aims to be a zero waste company. Currently it uses approximately 99 per cent of its raw materials directly in the manufacturing process with the rest being sent for recycling or energy recovery.
Since 1997, it has implemented a number of major environmental and energy projects designed to reduce both environmental impact and production costs. The company is committed to progressing all suggestions for improvements which have a payback time of less than four years.
So far, this has resulted in 33 energy projects which together have resulted in energy savings of 21 million kWh a year, corresponding to the annual electricity consumption of 4,700 households. In summary, Faerch Plast has cut its energy consumption by a third and reduced the amount of plastic waste it produces by 75 per cent.
Since it was established in 1969, Faerch Plast has built an unrivalled reputation for high quality plastics packaging products, supplying major blue chip customers in the ready meal, fresh meat, cold foods and snacks, and ambient food sectors with a wide range of containers and trays produced from PS, CPET, APET, PP, PLA, MAPET® and AMPET®.
Færch Plast A/S recently opened a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the North East of England. A large part of its production for the UK market is being moved to the new Durham-based plant as part of an on-going strategy to secure costs, improve efficiencies and minimise its environmental impact.