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Lifocolor presents trend colours based on recycled material for the circular economy

The Lifocolor Group has developed its annual colour 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 colours that can be achieved when colouring circular polymers and reveal the current challenges. The result: twelve contemporary blue and green shades and red accents that not only lead the way in terms of trends but also meet the standards of the linear circular economy.

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The Lifocolor Group has developed its annual colour 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 colours that can be achieved when colouring circular polymers and reveal the current challenges. The result: twelve contemporary blue and green shades and red accents that not only lead the way in terms of trends but also meet the standards of the linear circular economy.

In order to develop high-quality colourants for recyclates, it is essential to make an accurate assessment of the recycled base material to be coloured, its properties and feasibility. This results in a high degree of heterogeneity, not only from the individual products on the market but above all due to the various intrinsic colours achieved through sorting. “The development of colours 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 coloured in attractive shades with greater variety, using less colourant. As such, the masterbatch concentration and colouring costs of the finished item 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 colouring – the darker the target or desired colour, the more realistic and cost-effective the result. It is difficult to achieve bright colours with a darker base material, and the costs for doing this can be high.”

Trend colours 2023 for the first time on 100% recycled polypropylene basis

With the aim of offering guidance by demonstrating and revealing the possibilities and limits of colouring recyclates, Lifocolor has adapted the new 2023 trend colours in the Colour Road Trend Report for polymer colouring to be based on 100% recycled polypropylene for the first time. This was done using a darker and lighter recycling type as the polymer to be coloured so that the different intrinsic colours, availability and advantages of the types on the market could be integrated by way of example. “Our interpretation of Colour Road 2023 shows that in an increasingly circular economy, recycled polymer products can also be coloured in a trendy and versatile way in the future”, explains Andrea Hanke, Head of Technikum Lifocolor. “Because they are based entirely on recyclate and designed for circular flow, the twelve shades were given stable colourants that can withstand a high number of recycling cycles and the required processing temperatures, along with high temperature stability and migration resistance.”

Three inspiring colour worlds

The resulting trend colours 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 colours 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 colours of the “Cosmos Level” 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, with its mineral origin, evokes the dusty surface of the moon, and the striking turquoise Caldera shines as a bold accent colour.

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

Colour Road Trendfarben 2023 - Trendy Colours in PCR (Brochure)

Learn more about Colour Road 2023, Trend Colours and the inspirational story behind.

Link Press Release (PDF)