Black plastic: listed or blacklisted?

(Excerpt from Plastics in Packaging November 2019 Issue) The colour black in food and other types of consumer packaging has become a hotly-contested topic, given the challenges with carbon black in identifying the base polymer for recycling. Paul Gander looks at some of the alternative strategies.

While the majority of plastics packaging might be said to have a ‘visibility’ problem, which counts against it in the eyes of many consumers and much of the media, with black plastics this is more of an ‘invisibility’ problem.

Whether the packaging is black or a dark containing the same colourant, the challenge is that carbon black can render the item undetectable by near-infrared (NIR) identification systems, typically used in materials recovery facilities (MRFs) around the world. As a result, this stream has frequently been inaccurately described as ‘unrecyclable’.

In the UK especially, this is one plastics-related issue that predates the BBC Blue Planet 2 marine wildlife series, as business development manager at Faerch Plast UK Ruth Price explains. “Even before then, there was a lot of media attention given to the way black plastics were not being recycled,” she says. “That in turn was putting pressure on the use of black trays, even though they are recyclable.”

Are black plastics just a UK problem? At The Shepherd Color Company in the US, marketing manager Mark Ryan says it is now on its fifth generation of IR blacks, developed over some 40 years. But applications to date have principally been in vinyl for outdoor use requiring solar reflectivity. Those same properties make the additives ideal for IR reflectivity.

Following Europe’s lead, the issue of black plastics packaging and recycling is starting to come to the fore in the US, says Ryan. He highlights the boom in food delivery services in the US where, he says, providers will often use black plastics for their meals.

More broadly, he says: “Recycling rates in the US are so much lower, generally, than in Europe. Any initiative that helps has to be good.”

 

Read the entire article here and learn more about Shepherd Color’s Arctic Black 10P925, a product optimized for IR sorting in plastics.

State of the High Performance Pigments Market in the Wake of COVID

(Excerpt from Compounding World August 2020 Issue) The market for high-performance pigments (HPP) faced a challenging year. In addition to slower demand in the automotive market and raw material issues, the HPP market was impacted in early 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“High-performance pigments grew in all chemistries around the globe,” added Mark Ryan, marketing manager, The Shepherd Color Company. “Functionality for applications like IR sorting of recyclables found cutting edge uses for CICPs. The improved RTZ Orange products and all-new NTP Yellow continued to see large year-on-year gains. Interestingly, the unique NTP Yellow sales were driven by the easily-dispersed Dynamix product known as Yellow 30C152. We see this ‘stacking’ of technology – a chromatic, durable, and opaque patented pigment chemistry with Shepherd’s unique Dynamix easily-dispersed modification as the future of HPPs.”

To read the entire article by Kerry Pianoforte, Editor for Compounding World, click here.

Formulating the ‘Black Rainbow’

Who Says a Rainbow Has to Be Colorful?

For 40 years, The Shepherd Color Company has been producing a wide range of high-performance color pigments, many of which are infrared reflecting (IR) Black pigments. Our Black pigments for coatings and plastics all vary in masstone jetness, Total Solar Reflectance (TSR), and tint strength, the three main properties of an IR Black pigment. This forms the foundation of the ‘Black Rainbow’. Find what products make up the Shepherd Color ‘Black Rainbow’ here.

PRESS RELEASE: Shepherd Color Announces New IR Black for Recycling of Black Plastic

(CINCINNATI, OH, June 17, 2020) It seems that the Shepherd Color’s R&D team is at it again. ‘Creating Value, Brightening Lives’ has long been the Core Value of The Shepherd Color Company. The R&D Team has their pulse on the coatings and plastics industries to understand the needs of their customers: to create quality, innovative products, which bring value to not only their customers, but to the sustainability of the environment.

One such product is a cost-effective IR Black colorant for packaging that can reflect IR wavelengths in recycling sorting facilities, so these plastics may be recycled. Black is a popular color used for plastic packaging, which is mostly carbon black pigment. The carbon black pigmentation absorbs the light from the emitter used in plastic sorting centers, which prevents the sensor from identifying the polymer used, so the material is then rejected and not recycled (see illustration below).

Shepherd Color has spent the last 40 years developing, optimizing, and manufacturing IR Black pigments. Based on the new balance of properties needed for the recycling application, they were able to design, prototype and scale up an IR Black pigment to meet this new need. This IR Black pigment advancement is Arctic® Black 10P925. The pigment is optimized for infrared sorting of plastics and has the following characteristics:

  • Jet masstone color
  • Non-magnetic
  • Survives multiple extrusions
  • Single pigment solution
  • Widely listed on chemical registries for global supply
  • Food packaging compliance in key EU market

Black 10P925 is not only excellent for coloring plastic articles used for producing, packaging and transporting food, but can be used in other coatings as well. This new pigment is an example of Shepherd Color’s R&D expertise in developing products that provide unique tools to solve the challenges of customers in the coatings and plastics industries. To request a sample, receive technical data, or find other regulatory information, visit our Find Colors page.

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ABOUT THE SHEPHERD COLOR COMPANY
Founded in 1981, The Shepherd Color Company produces a wide range of high-performance Complex Inorganic Color Pigments (CICPs) used in a variety of industries. These pigments are an extraordinary class of inorganic pigments that offer stable, long-lasting color for many applications. They have unbeatable weatherability, heat and chemical resistance, are non-warping and easy to disperse. More Expertise. Better Performance. Best Value. That’s Shepherd Color.

PRESS RELEASE: The Shepherd Color Company Announces Full Approval of YInMn Blue

(CINCINNATI, OH, May 28, 2020) The Shepherd Color Company is proud to announce that the innovative pigment known as “YInMn Blue” has been added to the U.S. EPA TSCA registry. This means that the YInMn blue is now fully approved for use in commercial applications, including artist color materials.

Besides the long-anticipated availability for use in artist materials because of its color, YInMn Blue is valued for its unique balance of durability and IR reflectivity. Commercially known as Blue 10G513, YInMn has been available for industrial use under a Low Volume Exemption (LVE) since 2017. High-performance coatings and engineering plastics companies have been impressed with its visual opacity and color and the near-infrared reflective properties. This balance of visual aesthetics and infrared functionality gives it unique properties that allow building products to have deep, rich blue colors and that stay cooler when exposed to the sun. Blue 10G513 also has exhibited excellent weathering properties.

Shepherd Color has partnered with companies around the world to make YInMn Blue available in a wide range of artist materials. Please visit our website www.shepherdcolor.com/products/yinmn/ for a complete list of these providers.

The YInMn Blue pigment chemistry was discovered serendipitously at Oregon State University and licensed to The Shepherd Color Company for commercial sales. Named after the chemical constituents of Yttrium, Indium, and Manganese in a trigonal bipyramidal structure, the YInMn Blue represents how new and exciting chemicals are being discovered.

Launching new and interesting pigment technologies to the market shows Shepherd Color’s technical expertise, analytical capability, production competence, and global relationships with industries’ leading coatings and plastics companies along with living up to our Core Purpose of “Creating Value, Brightening Lives”. To learn more about YInMn Blue, visit www.shepherdcolor.com/products/yinmn/.

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ABOUT THE SHEPHERD COLOR COMPANY

Founded in 1981, The Shepherd Color Company produces a wide range of high-performance Complex Inorganic Color Pigments (CICPs) used in a variety of industries. These pigments are an extraordinary class of inorganic pigments that offer stable, long-lasting color for many applications. They have unbeatable weatherability, heat and chemical resistance, are non-warping and easy to disperse. More Expertise. Better Performance. Best Value. That’s Shepherd Color.

YInMn Blue

Revolutionary Blue for Industrial and Artist Color Materials

Commercially known as Blue 513, YInMn Blue is available for use in industrial coatings and plastics as well as artist color materials. The balance of visual aesthetics and infrared functionality gives it unique properties that allow building products to have deep, rich blue colors and that stay cooler when exposed to the sun. Click here to learn more about YInMn and stay tuned as we have a special announcement tomorrow!

Shepherd Color Green-Shade Blues

Unique Blue Colors

Beyond the red-shade blues are the green-shade blues that fill a wide range of purposes. From Blue 211 used in ‘Interstate Blue’ for road signs to ‘plastic ware’ blue of Blue 424, green-shade blues may not be as flashy as their red-shade cousins, but they find a wide range of uses. Learn more about our green-shade Blues and their uses.

Shepherd Color Red-Shade Blues

Strong True-Blue Colors

Cobalt blues can be broken down into two major groups: red or green-shade. The red-shade cobalt blues are better known because their bright chromatic tones are valued in many eye catching colors including corporate and branding logos. Learn more about Shepherd Color’s wide range of red-shade blues for use in a number of applications from high-durability coatings, glass enamels, to coloring concrete for handicap parking designation.

From Artist Materials to High-Heat Applications

Say Goodbye to the Moody Blues, and Hello to Shepherd’s High Performance Blues

One of the primary colors, lying between violet and green, is the beautiful Blue hue. From the sky to the deep blue sea, to a shiny sapphire, blue is the color of trust, excellence, and performance in business. Blue can also be associated to sadness, as everyone has felt a little blue at times. This color can also be perceived as calm and cooling, a lot like Shepherd Color’s Arctic pigments.

The Shepherd Color Company’s roots originate in the 1920s in the ceramic industry, where we supplied colors for porcelain enamels. It’s no surprise that Blue has been one of our first inorganic color pigments. We are celebrating our Blue pigment line over the next month, learn more here and check back each week for details on our Blues.

To request a sample of our pigments, visit our Find Colors page.

High-performance colour pigments for powder coatings

Durable, Functional and Colourful

Complex Inorganic Colour Pigments (CICPs) provide interesting options for demanding applications for powder coatings. CICPs provide durable colour that can stand up to the most challenging and aggressive processing and applications. Recent advances have found that besides colour, these pigments have properties that give them the ability to address regulatory requirements and give not only colour, but functional properties.

Read the first article of our three-part series by Mark Ryan in the April edition of Polymers Paint Colour Journal here.

Read Article 2: Controlling colour with high-performance inorganic pigments