The widely used NIR sensor technology evaluates the near-infrared spectrum reflected by the plastic article. Each type of plastic has a characteristic spectrum and can be identified, sorted and finally recycled. (Photo credit: Gabriel-Chemie)


Near infrared masterbatch for recycling black and coloured plastics

| Material technology | Gabriel-Chemie | Gumpoldskirchen | Austria

Plastics' recycling in the EU has increased by almost 80 % since 2006*. During the same period, landfill disposal has significantly declined by 43 %. The problem when it comes up to recycling is the fact that some black and coloured plastic items do not get recognized by detecting/sorting machines. That is why these pieces are still disposed as landfill or incinerated to produce energy. So the common use of carbon black still issues the big challenge with it.

The reason resides in the fact that sorting machines usually work with near-infrared (NIR) sensors. However, plastics items that contain carbon black absorbs the light signal instead of reflecting it, and the product is not detected, thus not sorted and end up its service life as landfill mass or as an incineration mass.

Gabriel-Chemie introduces a professional solution for NIR-detectable and sortable thermoplastic masterbatch colours. The NIR reflective masterbatch is made by using special pigment formulations which enable the correspondent sorting and recycling, is food contact approved and even laser markable.


Gabriel-Chemie presents a competent solution for NIR-detectable and sortable thermoplastic masterbatch inks.The NIR-reflecting masterbatch is based on special pigment formulations and enables proper sorting, is food safe and even laser markable.

In addition, it is suitable for any kind of processing methods, e.g. Injection molding, blow molding, extrusion, compression molding.There are no adverse mechanical properties to soot-based masterbatch.


The masterbatch can be extruded, blown or moulded by injection, compression, etc. Solutions made with Gabriel-Chemie’s NIR masterbatch have no lower mechanical properties than products made by carbon black-based products.

Diego A. Karpeles, Corporate Brand Manager, affirms: “Our masterbatch solutions are the perfect choice for plastics that are intended to be reused or recycled and they can be produced applying the ISO norms 9001,14000 (environmental management), 22000 (food contact materials) and even 13485 (medical devices).

By offering NIR-detectable masterbatches we are going a strong-paced step towards increasing environmental sustainability”.

With NIR detectable masterbatch Gabriel-Chemie sets up another action for a sortable and recyclable solution and takes a step further towards pushed sustainability strategy.


*(Source: Plastics, The Facts 2018, Plastics Europe, Association of Plastics Manufacturers, AISBL)