There has historically been a problem for recyclers when sorting plastics. The equipment that sorts the various types of plastic so that it can be processed in the correct way have never been able to detect black plastic correctly.
This is due to the fact that it is essentially invisible to optical sorters. This results in a percentage of plastic not being processed through recycling streams.
This is a key problem when trying to increase to amount of plastic recycled, particularly when some EU countries are still placing plastic in landfill over recycling and regeneration - around eight million tonnes in 2014 to be exact. With the amount of plastic being produced rising, this is obviously of great concern.
There is now good news however - a new system has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institutein that is colour independent, meaning it can detect black plastic and sort it correctly. It can also process large quantities efficiently and is significantly cheaper than existing technology.
The new affordable technology should herald cheaper recycling costs in the long term as recyclers are more likely to be able to invest in the new equipment that can efficiently sort a wider range of plastic, especially as demand continues to increase.
Every tonne of aluminium recycled saves nine tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.