05. Jul 2021

Coloring green plastics safely with inorganic pigments

Coloring green plastics safely with inorganic pigments

According to the latest figures, global production capacity for bioplastics is currently rising at rapid 7% per year, a figure which includes both non-biodegradable plastics made from natural raw made from natural raw materials, but also biodegradable plastics made from renewable or fossil resources.

LANXESS has estimated that by 2025, some 2,800 kilotons (kt) of bioplastics will be manufactured annually, of which 1,800 kt will be biodegradable. This trend is being driven by, among other things, the discussion surrounding microplastics, the desire for resource security, and plastic waste policies in many countries.
These products, however, must also fulfill all the relevant usage standards applicable in various regions of the world before being allowed to be sold. A host of regulatory directives apply, including the European standard EN 13432:2000 and US standard ASTM D 6400. These specifications refer to the plastics themselves as well as the end products destined for composting in municipal and industrial aerobic composting plants.
Due to regulated heavy-metal levels, certain pigment classes, such as nickel-, chrome- or copper-based pigments, can therefore not be used in coloring biodegradable plastics.
By contrast, Colortherm- branded iron oxide pigments from LANXESS are almost completely free from heavy metals, which means the limits for biodegradable plastics can be reliably maintained, even with a high pigment content. In addition, the company offers masterbatch producers pigment analyses and provides recommendations on the maximum Colortherm pigment concentration in biodegradable plastic formulations. This ensures customers remain in compliance with the requirements of both of these standards.
“Our Colortherm iron oxide pigments are ideally suited to the task of coloring compostable plastics. The decomposition of the polymer is not affected,” says Stefano Bartolucci, Global Market Segment Manager for Plastics at IPG. “Based on the recommended pigment dosing, masterbatch producers can instantly develop individual formulations for colored biodegradable plastics – no expensive pigment screening is required.”
These inorganic pigments are widely used in the coloration of plastics for a broad range of applications. “Our pigments can enhance the properties of plastics, make them more cost-efficient, and increase flexibility in production. Our application specialists can also help customers all over the world find solutions to their challenges,” says Bartolucci. The company runs a global network of state-of-the-art laboratories and technical application facilities.
The pigments come in red, yellow, brown, and black and also in numerous intermediate tones. They do not require special labeling, nor are they classified as hazardous substances.


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