Recycling mistakes you didn't know you were making, part 1: Black plastic

You can’t go wrong with recycling, right? You can. There are some common recycling mistakes that work against all the effort you’re making – and you might not even be aware of. This series will give you insight.

Black plastic: a recycling challenge

Ready meals often come with black plastic packaging, that many people put in the recycling bins. The problem is: As convenient as they are, they are a challenge to recycle. 

According to Recycle Now, plastic packaging gets sorted into different types of plastics which are then baled up ready for reprocessing. Near infra-red (NIR) technology is used to do this sorting. Unfortunately, black plastic is difficult for the NIR lasers to see and therefore it is generally not sorted for recycling.

So can black plastic be recycled?

Although some businesses are using a special type of black plastic which can detected by NIR technology, the waste management companies need to fine tune their NIR equipment first. The UK Plastics Pact is working with the industry to roll out this two-stage solution. Meanwhile, one waste management company is manually sorting black plastic.

“The best thing to do is to check with your local authority. They will know if their waste management company are either manually sorting black, or if the recycling facility it goes to have fine-tuned their equipment in order to recycle the special detectable black plastic”, Recycle Now recommends.

Image: Pixabay

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Written by Sonja

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