Black plastic is used in a large variety of household products, particularly single-use, disposable food containers, for example from prepared meals, meat packaging, coffee capsules, restaurant take out and other convenience food.
The problem with black plastic is in the sorting. Most communities have single-stream recycling, where all types of plastics are put together in one container.
Recycling facilities primarily use near-infrared (NIR) spectrometers, or lasers, to identify and sort the various types of plastics that need to be recycled. Once the plastics are sorted, then they can be recycled in the correct way depending on their chemical breakdown. However, there is often a significant percentage of waste that cannot be identified and ends up as non-recyclable waste even though it could be recycled. And a majority of that is black plastic.
We created an infographic, explaining everything you need to know about the process of plastic recycling. Click here to download.