Lifocolor shows trending colors for the recycled material for the circular economy

The Lifocolor Group has developed its annual color series Colour Road based on 100% recycled polypropylene for the first time. As one of the leading masterbatch manufacturers, Lifocolor has used a darker and lighter recycling type to demonstrate the wide range of colors that can be achieved when coloring circular polymers and reveal the current challenges. The result: twelve contemporary blue and green shades and red accents that lead the way in terms of trends and meet the standards of the linear, circular economy.

To develop high-quality colorants for recyclates, it is essential to accurately assess the recycled base material to be colored, its properties, and its feasibility. It results in a high degree of heterogeneity, not only from the individual products on the market but also from the various intrinsic colors achieved through sorting. 

“The development of colors for circular polymers is more demanding and complex than for new products,” explains Marco Meixner, Head of Research and Development at Lifocolor. “We tend to have lighter and darker PCR mixes as our starting point. A lighter polymer fraction can be colored in attractive shades with greater variety, using less colorant. The finished item’s masterbatch concentration and coloring costs remain moderate. Lighter polymer fractions are often less available because they are more complex to sort and process. Darker types currently limit the range of coloring – the darker the target or desired color, the more realistic and cost-effective the result. It is difficult to achieve bright colors with a darker base material, and the costs for doing this can be high.”

Trend colors 2023 for the first time on a 100% recycled polypropylene basis.

To offer guidance by demonstrating and revealing the possibilities and limits of coloring recyclates, Lifocolor has adapted the new 2023 trend colors in the Colour Road Trend Report for polymer coloring to be based on 100% recycled polypropylene for the first time. It was done using a darker and lighter recycling type as the polymer to be colored so that the different intrinsic colors, availability, and advantages of the types on the market could be integrated by example. 

“Our interpretation of Colour Road 2023 shows that recycled polymer products can also be colored in a trendy and versatile way in the future”, explains Andrea Hanke, Head of Technikum Lifocolor. “Because they are entirely recyclable and designed for circular flow, the twelve shades were given stable colorants that can withstand many recycling cycles and the required processing temperatures and high-temperature stability and migration resistance.”

Three inspiring color worlds

Each year, the Colour Road, a Renolit brand, combines the desire for freshness and novelty with contemporary themes and color trends, elaborated in-depth in collaboration with trend research institutes and trend experts. The pandemic years have clarified just how many people long for variety and the opportunity to travel. Political events in Europe and the world raise awareness of the values of freedom and a carefree existence. 

Human curiosity and the deep-rooted desire to learn more about the world give more importance to physical, direct experiences. Exploring the theme “Travelling into New Dimensions,” Colour Road 2023 embarks on a journey to twelve trend colors inspired by the palettes of the deep sea, sensory experiences on Earth, and the spheres of the universe and space travel.

The resulting trend colors of the “Deep Ocean Level” are:

  • The two blue tones.
  • Sea Pioneer and Atlantic.
  • The intense pastel green Nekton and Space Glow.
  • A golden accent.

The colors of the “Ground Level” emerge before our eyes. The muted Lichen Green has a soothing effect, while the rich, warm, pulsating Pilgrim Shell is found in nature and carries a positive aura. Red Artist is forceful, making a bold statement, as does the cool purple Sphere. 

The “Cosmos Level” colors are souvenirs from an interplanetary journey: Mars is a powerful orange that stands for hopes and perspectives, while the muted rust-red Crypto looks like something out of a snapshot of the Martian atmosphere. Mineral Gray evokes the moon’s dusty surface with its mineral origin, and the striking turquoise Caldera shines as a bold accent color.

In addition to the mainline, Lifocolor and Renolit are also launching a Colour Road 2023 series featuring delicately chosen colors for the cosmetics industry. Some of the shades in this trend color series will also be based on 100% recycled resins and will be presented at the Cosmetic Business trade fair in Munich in early June 2022.

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Vihaan Nagal

संवेष्टन अभियान्ता | Packaging Engineer | Verpackung Ingenieur *Free time blogger *Believe in packaging reform (say naa to orthodox packaging) My life lies between degradable and non-degradable material.

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