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BASF's Sicopal Black Gets Expanded FDA Clearance for Recycling

The FDA sanctioned carbon black alternative pigment from BASF’ Colors & Effects is one of the first recyclable black pigments for food contact applications.
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An alternative black pigment to carbon black launched by the Colors & Effects division of BASF (U.S. office in Florham Park, N.J.) has received expanded FDA compliance, making it one of the first recyclable black pigments broadly recognized for use in food contact applications. Sicopal Black K 0098 FK received EU food contact approval (EU 10/2011) in April of this year.

This pigment’s new compliance expands possibilities for recyclable black plastics material applications such as food and cosmetic packaging, which up until now have gone to landfills or incineration. Until recently, black plastic packaging was considered unrecyclable due to coloration with carbon black pigment. Even trace amounts of carbon black are undetectable by waste sorting machines and disrupt the scrap sorting process at materials recycling facilities. By replacing carbon black with near infrared (NIR) reflective Sicopal Black K 0098 FK, black plastic articles reportedly can be systematically and reliably detected and, therefore, recycled. From sushi trays to takeout food containers, the expanded FDA compliance means many of these food contact articles can now be designed and commercialized as recyclable black plastic.

Says Colors & Effects North America technical manager Breeze Briggs, “Either alone or in combination with other pigments, Sicopal Black K 0098 FK can achieve a jet black color, which is often sought after in packaging applications. As well, it can be used for shading in many different color stylings, thus avoiding the use of carbon black.”

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