Colouring PCR

April 2022 saw the introduction of the UK plastic packaging tax. This means any packaging containing less than 30% PCR (post-consumer recycled) material will incur additional taxes. With brands increasingly turning to packaging with high PCR content, using a colour supplier with expertise in colouring recycled plastic is vital. Broadway are well-versed in colouring PCR, our team deliver dozens of matches for PCR every week.

Colour Matching

With the world focused on reducing plastic waste; brand owners, packaging technicians and moulders are increasingly seeking sustainable options. PCR (Post Consumer Recycled) materials offer an obvious and instant solution by utilising waste packaging – reprocessing it into usable materials for re-moulding. The introduction of the UK Plastic Packaging Tax has accelerated this trend. Broadway has been colouring PCR material for many years. Not only are we able to formulate colours for customers looking to increase their use of PCR, but we’re able to give helpful advice too.

Brand owners understandably have high expectations for product aesthetics. Unfortunately using high levels of recycled plastic will pose limitations on which colours and effects can be successfully achieved. Improving sustainability should be a priority for us all, we believe consumers will increasingly accept and even embrace compromises on aesthetics if they realise the product is less harmful to the environment as a result. We encourage our customers to consider using PCR, or increase the level of PCR in their products wherever possible – and we’re on hand to assist with our colouring expertise. We can show first hand how using recycled plastics will impact the end product by demonstrating this in our colour suite.

PCR material is typically tinted, so lighter, brighter and translucent colours are not always achievable. A good analogy would be washing your brush in a pot of water when using watercolour paints. As more colour is washed into the water, it becomes ‘muddy’. Once it loses its original clarity, it becomes impossible to make that water clear again or turn it into a bright colour. Using PCR is very similar in that the inherent tint of the base material will limit the effect the masterbatch can have when dosed into it. The other challenge is that recycled polymer will vary from batch to batch. So a colour which works with one batch of material, may need adjustments to the formula to give the same result when used with a different batch of PCR. If you’re considering increasing the use of PCR in your products, then please get in touch.

Case study: The Body Shop

With its Community Trade recycled plastic initiative in place, The Body Shop asked us to lead the development of colour for their high PCR content bottles. The challenges colourists face are magnified when high levels of PCR material are used. Hosting customers on site means we can explore options for colouring and demonstrate first-hand how materials will look. The Body Shop utilised our on-site colour suite to develop and approve colours with ease and efficiency. The main focus was their Ginger Shampoo bottle, which uses 100% PCR content, 15% of which is Community Trade Recycled.

We developed other colours for use in PCR materials to support The Body Shop’s extensive product range. Our colour suite allows a range of new colours to be developed and approved within the day – saving time and money for customers such as The Body Shop. Our team can instantly demonstrate how colour is impacted by different levels of PCR content. This offers the perfect solution in response to the ever increasing demand for colouring PCR material. With access to our expert colourists, the latest testing equipment and our friendly team offering support each step of the way, our customers are in safe hands.

The Body Shop Ginger Shampoo – 100% PCR
“It was surprising to see how much PCR content affected the final colour. Working with Broadway was great, as not only were they able to explain in great detail how the colour can be affected, but they were also able to show us, first-hand, how it looked. By carrying out the colour matching at the Broadway site and being able to feedback on the same day, it saved us precious time on development.”
Lauriane B.
Product Development Manager @ The Body Shop
Colour powder background

Contact our expert team today to discuss your requirements.

Blue Masterbatch in petri dish


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