Navigating the 3 R’s: Recycle

Colortech supplies a variety of additive masterbatches which support ready to recycle packaging by improving the quality of recycling streams. 

Antioxidants

Did you know you can prevent the browning of a sliced apple by sprinkling a little bit of lemon juice on it? This prevents oxidation of the apple. The lemon juice contains an antioxidant (AO) called vitamin C, which can keep the apple from discoloring. This same concept can be applied to polymers. The addition of an AO can prevent plastics from breaking down by preventing polymer chains from fragmenting due to oxidation and prolonged heat exposure. This helps retain the physical properties of the material.

AOs should be used when processing conditions require long residence times and/or high temperatures. Some red flags that indicate AOs are needed can be charred resin, black specs, gels, and discoloration. Added benefits include increasing the number of times a material can be recycled/reprocessed into a new product, producing less waste, and saving money.

UV Inhibitors

It is not a secret that sunlight or UV radiation is very damaging to the skin and can lead to early skin aging and possibly cancer. Sunscreen is an important component to help protect the skin from the dangers of UV radiation. Light stabilizers (or UV Inhibitors) can be thought of as sunscreen to plastic parts by protecting a product against degradation due to exposure to sunlight and oxygen. These additives function as a safety net for the polymer by trapping free radicals formed during photooxidation, thus preventing degradation. UV Absorbers protect the contents of a package by converting harmful UV radiation into harmless infrared radiation or heat.

Light stabilizers can be used for any application in direct sunlight or UV exposure. Indications that light stabilizers may be needed are gloss loss, chalking, delamination, yellowing, and cracking after exposure to sunlight.

The benefits of UV Inhibitors include reduced field failures, better weather resistance, and outdoor durability and protection against premature color fading. UV Absorbers can increase the shelf life of light-sensitive end products.

PIR / PCR/ Regrind

Let's be honest, post-consumer recycle (PCR) generally does not have an attractive fragrance. To reduce unpleasant odors, Colortech has developed deodorant packages and several scented products which reduce or mask the undesirable odors. Additionally, recycled material can have high moisture content due to the washing process. This can cause a number of issues, such as lacing/lensing in film extrusion and surface defects in blow-molded bottles. Colortech can provide Desiccant products to aid in controlling the effects of excess water.

Coloring recycled material can be a challenging process due to variability in color and quality of the resin, creating inconsistencies from run to run. While light colors may be produced using PCR, a darker color such as some blues, reds, or NIR black will reduce the optical variation in the end product.

Contact our Sales or Technical Teams to help you select the best products for your application.

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Rachael Matthew, PhD

Technical Service Representative

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