Plastic Packaging Recycling using Intelligent Separation technologies for Materials (PRISM) has developed fluorescent markers which enables sub-categorization of plastics which are sorted in Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) automatically at high speed. The fluorescent label sorting system is designed to be integrated with the current near infra-red (NIR)-based sorting systems used in materials recovery facilities (MRFs). This will allow, for instance, food-grade polymers to be distinguished from non-food-grade, black plastics to be identified and full-length shrink-sleeves to be tagged according to the underlying plastic. This effort enables new initiatives from brand-owners eager to recover their packaging as part of the circular economy.
Technology partners associated with the project are claiming to achieving 98 percent yield in identification and separation trials. It is said that with the PRISM technology, different combinations of a limited number of fluorescent pigments used on labels, open up cost-effective routes to high-grade sorting. PRISM partners estimate that fluorescent inks would only add a minimal cost to the labels.