Black plastic packaging use falls in the UK, says RECOUP RECOUP has reported that the amount of black plastic used in UK packaging has fallen.
Its Black Plastic Packaging Forum report estimates that the amount of black packaging used in the UK fell from 36,000 tonnes to 10,000 tonnes going into 2020. It added that black plastic now accounts for 0.7% of consumer plastic packaging placed on the UK market each year. Black Plastic is largely considered unrecyclable through commercial recycling systems due to the use of NIR (Near Infra-red) sorting systems in MRFs (Material Recycling Facilities) that are unable to identify the carbon black pigment. As such, most of the black plastic is sent for landfill or incineration. Stuart Foster, chief executive at RECOUP, said: “The ultimate aim is to drive black plastic recycling forwards in a practical and sensible way, turning ambitions and collaborative thinking into actual delivery.” Paul East, RECOUP’s packaging sustainability manager, added: “Black plastic has long been a challenge for plastic packaging producers and recyclers. Whilst it has been an excellent way for producers to get recycled plastic into their packaging, it’s also long been incompatible with commercial sorting facilities. Today, with changes to Extended Producer Responsibility on the horizon, it is the best time to finally resolve the issue of black plastics, through achieving a satisfactory level of recyclability.” The Black Plastic working group and subsequent report was generated as part of RECOUP’s Black Plastic Forum, set up in 2018, with the aim of improving the recyclability of black plastic.