Removing the Black Hole in Plastics Recycling

Arctic® Infrared Reflective Pigments allow for a more sustainable solution to black plastic recycling


One of the major benefits of plastics and a big part of its sustainability is that they can be recycled. This benefit is optimized when the recycle stream can be sorted by polymer type as seen in Graphic 1. A common sorting method uses near-infrared (NIR) light from 700 to around 2000 nanometers (nm) to scan the plastic. The reflected NIR light can be used to identify the polymer. Carbon black is the most commonly used black pigment for many applications, including the coloration of plastics. It is economical, has high coloring and visual opacity properties and acts as a UV absorber. The problem is that the carbon black pigment interferes with the reflectance by absorbing the NIR light which makes identifying the polymer impossible. This impedes the recycling of up to 10% of plastics at some facilities1. If the material can’t be recycled it will often end up in a landfill. Since black is a very popular color for packaging, especially food tray packaging, a black pigment is needed that doesn’t interfere with the NIR scanning and has regulatory acceptance for food packaging.

NIR Sorting of Plastics
Graphic 1


Download the rest of the article here to read how this technology can help reduce waste in landfills.

The Shepherd Color Company Attending the 2019 European Coatings Show

Highlighting Two Unique and Ground-breaking Technologies

The Shepherd Color Company will be attending the European Coatings Show (ECS) in Nuremberg, Germany March 18-21, 2019.

144 presentations in 24 sessions, 10 short courses and countless networking possibilities. Over the course of just two-and-a-half days, the European Coatings Show Conference offers everything you need to thrive in the fiercely contested coatings market: current developments in raw materials, the latest results from scientific institutes and universities, and contact with leading international experts in person.

At the ECS, Shepherd Color will be supporting their high-durability and specialized pigments that have made them the standard for highly demanding applications like Coil and Extrusion coatings, high-heat coatings and other specialty coatings. Shepherd Color pigments also have functional properties such as the Arctic IR Reflective pigments that keep materials cooler and the Dynamix easily-dispersed technology that takes production steps and costs out of making color dispersions. At the ECS, Shepherd Color will be highlighting two key technologies: the unique and ground-breaking NTP Yellow and the new and improved RTZ Orange. These two pigments give formulators and chemists key tools to address chromaticity, opacity, and durability in the color space formerly held by lead chromates.

“Together these pigments provide high chroma, opacity, and durability solutions to coloring in the yellow-orange color space. These highly engineered pigments are excellent colorants for demanding thin film applications and are compatible with a wide range of resins,” said Mark Ryan, Marketing Manager for Shepherd Color. For more detailed information, watch our Webinar, Innovation in Yellow and Orange Pigments.

To learn more about NTP Yellow and RTZ Orange and their other high-performance pigments, visit Shepherd Color at booth 9-340 at the ECS in March 2019.