The impact of carbon black in the recycling process

Did you know that plastic packaging made with carbon black pigments will usually end up in landfill? Even if made from easily recyclable materials such as PE or PET. It’s time to consider the best colours for your brand packaging and make the switch to carbon black free pigments in darker shades of container and closure.

carbon black material

Carbon Black Free

Table of Contents

If you need to ask anymore questions or would like to speak to our experts on carbon black free packaging feel free to contact us.

What is Carbon Black?

Carbon black is composed of fine particles consisting mainly of carbon. Various features of carbon black are controlled in production by partially combusting oil or gases. Its international colour Index is PBK-7.  The carbon black is widely used in various applications from black colouring pigment of newspaper inks to electric conductive agent of high-technology materials.

What are the application of carbon black?
A large amount of carbon black is used mainly in tires as excellent rubber reinforcement. Carbon black is also an excellent colouring agent as black pigment, and therefore is widely used for printing inks, resin colouring, paints, and toners. Furthermore, carbon black is used in various other applications as an electric conductive agent, including antistatic films, fibres, and memory disks.

carbon black powder form

How carbon black free packaging helps recycling centres

carbon black free products NIR

To be able to sort correctly, the packaging needs to be detected by the so called “near infra-red” sensor, short NIR. This sensor detects the type of polymer by spotting light points on the surface of the packaging and identifies the reflected light range of the biggest part of the polymer. This is special for each polymer type, e.g. HDPE, PET, PP etc. Is it not possible to detect the packaging surface, the packaging can’t be detected and subsequently not sorted. So it will be rejected for incineration or landfill.

I'm interested in carbon black free products

How to enquire about our carbon black free packaging

In order to enquire about a product in carbon black free, you will need to navigate to one of our ranges using the button below or through our sophisticated search filters on our homepage. Once you have found the product and size you would like to enquire about, add the product to your selection using the button below the product then proceed to click the “My Selection” button on the header.

From here you will be able to input your contact details and leave the team a message, explaining that you are interested in the carbon black free material option and our team of experts will contact you with the details about price, stock and the next steps for ordering.

Choosing the best colours for your packaging

Keeping your product in the recycling stream

Are you launching a new brand or redeveloping your product packaging? There’s something to consider before picking a shade of container or closure.

Consider choosing paler colours, for PET this means clear or very pale green or blue so that the packaging can remain in the recycling stream. For PE choose any colour that does not have carbon black as a component.

We also recognise that darker shades of packaging are also required, particularly for products that are sensitive to UV light so here we recommend the use of carbon black free pigments not just for black but any kind of darker colours.

Are containers made using Carbon Black Free pigments still food grade?

Yes! The technical performance of containers or closures made using CBF pigments remains the same and the packaging can still be classified as suitable for food use.

We wanted to make sure that any changes to our packaging would still be 100% food grade approved, similarly said as before we are only helping to support the environment with our decision to push for carbon black free products.

Your questions about Carbon Black Pigment, Answered here!

Carbon black is composed of fine particles consisting mainly of carbon. Various features of carbon black are controlled in production by partially combusting oil or gases. It is a very fine pigment with high tinting strength and is used for colouring both black products and darkening colours.

Carbon black is not biodegradable, but it also non-toxic and does not leach into groundwater from landfill.

They are both airborne particles containing elemental carbon but they are not the same thing. Carbon black is a manufactured product with well-controlled properties and is used for pigments and black carbon an incomplete combustion by-product.

Although the name would suggest otherwise, carbon black is not classed as organic.

Learn more about all of our sustainable solutions

We have a wide range of sustainable options for all our products

Biobased PE

Learn about how this sustainable packaging solution performs, what it can be used for, products we have avaliable and how it can be recycled for a circular economy.   Click here to learn more

Recycled PET

Learn more about recycled-PET and how our products are made from different amounts of recycled content ranging from 0-100% recycled PET materials collected and reused. Click here to learn more

Recycled HDPE

Learn more about Recycled HDPE and how this none food grade sustainable packaging solution Is perfect for storing chemicals, acids, alcohols and many other products safely.  Click here to learn more


Learn more about our Glass material and our fragile food grade material is the best solution for containing liquids, solids, and many other food grade products for consumption.  Click here to learn more

All Sustainable options

Learn more about all of our sustainable packaging, including our green process and our poilcy to protect the environment through recycling and sustainable materials. Click here to learn more

Contact Us FOR MORE

Your business is fully supported by Pont Packaging, take the next step into a greener future and enquire to learn about the various green packaging solutions we offer. Click here to learn more

Contact Pont Packaging

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If you find yourself needing more answers or wanting some support for anything on this page then feel free to contact the Pont team directly using the button below, our team is built of experts since 1905 and ready to take on any questions you may have.

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