Retailers adopt new recyclable black PET

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Quinn's new Detecta range has already generated major interest from retailers
Quinn's new Detecta range has already generated major interest from retailers
A new black polyethylene terephthalate (PET) food tray that is able to be picked up by recycling equipment will soon to be adopted by UK retailers, according to Ireland-based creator Quinn Packaging.

The Detecta range launched in mid-February and has garnered a lot of positive engagement from several UK retailers, the manufacturer claimed.

A spokesman told Food Manufacture: “Two retailers in particular have expressed strong interest in the tray and are looking to move products currently packed in clear trays across to Detecta by Quinn black trays.”


Unlike regular black food trays, Detecta by Quinn can be recognised by near-infrared (NIR) optical sorting equipment used by recycling services in the UK.

This is achieved by replacing the black carbon pigment found in conventional trays with primary and secondary colour pigments together to achieve black. By using this solution, the NIR light both passes through and reflects off the tray surface resulting in the packaging being fully visible to sorting systems.

Commenting on Detecta’s launch, Thomas McCaffrey, new product development manager at Quinn, said: “In the last 12 months we have seen a growing desire within the food sector to move away from black coloured packaging. For Quinn Packaging this was short-sighted.

‘True circular economy’

“If we are serious about moving towards a true circular economy, where food trays are recycled back into food trays, then the ultimate packaging colour to achieve this is black. The new Detecta by Quinn range overcomes the issue of identifying and sorting black PET trays for recycling and will hopefully help the industry to move towards a true circular economy.”

Quinn has also started work with red meat processors in developing a mono polyethylene terephthalate (PET) solution for vacuum skin-packed products and hoped to have a finished product available to the market in the near future.

Meanwhile, waste management firm Veolia has defended expected delays in the implementation of the Government’s new Resources and Waste Strategy​ (RWS) for England, despite the pressure on users of plastics packaging, in particular, to demonstrate sustainability to sceptical consumers and retailers.

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