Funding has been granted to a consortium from government innovations agency Innovate UK to identify new luminescent materials that can be applied invisibly to labels on plastics packaging, providing a low-cost sorting option for recyclables.
The project, Plastic Packaging Recycling using Intelligent Separation technologies for Materials (PRISM), has received £772,000 (US $1 million) of funding for over two years. Part of the funding is has also been provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
The PRISM venture will create fluorescent materials from novel metal oxides as well as converting reprocessed powders from recycled fluorescent lamps into suitable fluorescent materials.
The fluorescent marking technology is one of the most important developments in sorting in decades, according to recycling consultancy and lead partner in the project Nextek, a plastic recycling consultancy.