Unilever innovation makes more black HDPE bottles recyclable
A new detectable black pigment pioneered by Unilever (Rotterdam) for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles for its leading brands, TRESemmé and Lynx, means the used personal care product bottles can be detected by recycling plant scanners to be sorted for recycling. The result? An additional 2,500 tonnes/2,756 tons of plastic bottles could now potentially be sorted and sent for recycling each year—equivalent to the weight of 1,250 family-sized cars. Scanners require only a minor adjustment, according to Unilever.
The company plans to phase in the new detectable bottles during 2019 so that Unilever can further “close the loop” by using the recycled black plastic back in new packaging. In 2019, TRESemmé and Lynx will both introduce a minimum of 30% recycled material into their packs.
Continued developments around the world of plastics and packaging continue to advance recycling prospects include a newly announced breakthrough that makes black bottles sustainably greener.
Standard black plastic bottles go undetected by automatic optical sorting machines in recycling plants because they use near-infrared light, which is absorbed by the carbon black pigment traditionally used to colour them. This effectively makes them invisible to the sorter and leads to their rejection into waste streams..
In partnership with RECOUP and waste management partners Veolia, SUEZ, Viridor and TOMRA, Unilever has carried out extensive trials that proved the new pigment can be technically detected within their UK material recycling facilities.
The intellectual property from this technical solution will be made accessible to others in the industry and to other markets globally. We will be pleased to share our work and the insights generated with other manufacturers to enable wide use of this technology and approach.
This move to using the new detectable black plastic is part of Unilever UK’s commitment to The UK Plastics Pact and its new ‘Get Plastic Wise’ campaign, a Five Point Plastics Plan which aims to tackle plastic waste in the UK and move towards a closed loop where plastic stays within the plastic economy and does not leak out to the environment
Sebastian Munden, General Manager of Unilever UK & Ireland, says: “Unilever has committed globally to all our plastic packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and to using more recycled plastic content in our packaging, and in the UK we want to significantly accelerate this. This latest innovation moves us further towards our goal and makes a significant contribution towards the UK Plastics Pact targets. We’d like to thank our industry partners for working with us to make this possible.
Read more on the link below...